• Gov't Name: David Brewster
  • Twitter: @DaveEast
  • Instagram: @DaveEast
  • Snapchat: @MissYouLik
  • Age: 28
  • Reppin: Harlem
  • Notable Releases: Singles: “Forbes List,” “KD”; Mixtape: Hate Me Now, Black Rose; Guest Appearance: Trey Songz’s “Everybody Say”
  • Label: Mass Appeal Records
  • Currently Working On: Next mixtape, Kairi Chanel, due out in July.
  • Surprised About Who Is Missing: “Kur from Philly because he’s the only other person
 I know besides myself that’s really talking about what’s going on the way I want to hear it.”
  • Influenced By: “Styles P is my favorite rapper. It was like he was always talking to me so I always clicked with him. Nas also influenced me of course. I was into Cam’ron and the whole Dipset movement. I listened to Big Pun heavy.
A lot of DMX and I listened to a lot of West Coast music like Snoop Dogg and Tupac.”
  • As A Freshman In High School: “As a Freshman I was mad tall and all I wanted to do was play basketball every day. I didn’t care about girls. I didn’t care about clothes. All I really cared about was sneakers and basketball.”

TRUTH: On Being A 2016 XXL Freshman:

“It’s an honor to be on the XXL Freshman cover. There’s not a new rapper coming up that doesn’t want this. It’s a goal. It’s an extra push for your career. It’s on the bucket list. All the greatest dudes that’s doing it now have been a part of this from Kendrick Lamar to J. Cole to Meek Mill.

When my manager told me I was going to be a freshman this year I was hype, but it caught me by surprise because this year I wasn’t really that pressed on it. I was a nominee last year and I was telling everybody, ‘Yo, vote for me, this and that,’ so I was a lot more pro-XXL last year as far as getting people to vote for me. This year I was just like, if it happens, it happens. I’m just going to work and if they not seeing it then I don’t know what else to do, but it’s beautiful. I’m just happy to be here.”

The cover meant a lot to me growing up and now that I’ve made this year’s Freshman Class, the cover means a lot more to me. It’s like one of those staples in hip-hop. XXL definitely made that one of the things that upcoming artists want to be a part of because it kind of puts you in a certain class of artists. Now that I am on it, I respect it even that much more and it let me know that I’m a part of that elite class. I’m a part of what hip-hop needs.

It’s dope to be a part of this class. I’m big fans of a few of them. Uzi is my man. Me and him are probably the closest out of all the Freshmen. Herb is my boy. Me and him have a few things in the works. I’m a big fan of Kodak. I just met him today at the shoot. I like his music and what he brings to the game. Me and Lil Dicky went to the University of Richmond together and I didn’t even know that until his Breakfast Club interview. I was playing ball and he was like probably running up on me at the time and it’s dope that we reconnect in here. Life is crazy but I think it’s a dope group. Everyone is different and has a lot to bring to the game.

I think the cover is going to help my career a lot. I just use it as fuel. This is going to put more fans onto Dave East and let more girls see me. Let more dudes get in tune to what’s going on in Harlem and it’s a different Harlem. It’s really going to put me on a different platform that I needed and that I haven’t been on.

I want my Freshman year to be remembered as when New York City woke the fuck back up again. Legends always do what they do, Jadakiss Fabolous, Styles, they got New York etched in stone, but I want it to be remembered that it was a breath of fresh air that came in the game from Harlem.

I’m celebrating by just going out and copping as many XXL’s as possible and passing them shits out in the hood where I come from. Right up and down 1st Ave. and give them joints away. I be low now, so I’ll probably go out with the homies, get something to eat and spend time with my family.”- Roger Krastz

Behind the Scenes: Dave East