Friday, September 30, 2016

The self-defeating gangbanger in Dave East pulls him down in 'Kairi Chanel'

Kairi Chanel by Dave East
Some sources are calling East Harlem/Mass Appeal rapper Dave East’s new album Kairi Chanel (named after his daughter) his debut, but it was also recently reported that he just inked a deal with Def Jam Records with news that Nas will executive produce his first album with the label and therefore his first major label LP, so which is it? It feels more like Kairi Chanel is a street-slash-mixtape release for the 2016 XXL Freshman. His 2015 project, Hate Me Now, also on Mass Appeal, is more or less right in line with this effort in tone. The Dave East in Kairi Chanel has some impressive chops not to mention some insight towards the end but definitely not near enough original topics in his songs.
From “It Was Written” (see the Nas respect?), Dave is of course a typical gangster emcee unfortunately spitting very stereotypical recycled subject matter for his skill level and voracious energy, and sadly, he is blatantly a slave to the system that promotes cars, drugs, cloths, guns, jewelry, loads of cash, etc. and with little additional personality. He’s just about a complete disaster for the first three quarters of the album. If it’s not hard, it’s soft, offering topics on sex and love-related feelings in “From The Heart” and “Eyes on Me” with Sevyn Streeter and Fabolous.
In “The Only Thing,” he tries to about-face with talk on care for the culture, love for the game, respect and humility but it’s hardly convincing after ten tracks of ghetto war upheaval and lowbrow sellout themes. Some buildup proceeds before “Don’t Shoot” strikes with Dave expressing valid frustrations with the police, but he hardly gives much advice and he doesn’t go after other monsters like the destructive media machine, extreme capitalism, gullible folks and the corporately shaped hierarchy of society that have led us to where we are today. Despite some modern productions that are mostly hard and dark when not supple, Dave East stays well in the past with his old style East Coast crime raps.
2 out of 5 stars

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