Many Dave East fans have been championing the New York lyricist for a minute. Malleable on wax, respected by all walks of life, East’s star shines brighter with every passing year. Though never achieving mainstream heights he certainly deserves, perhaps East is more comfortable in the trenches. Though crossover attempts have been made with varying degrees of enthusiasm, the Dave East of “Russia” feels like his truest evolutionary form.
Taking to a melancholic string section evocative of “Still Tippin,” East slides over the instrumental with ruthless efficacy, citing his international harem; language barriers need not apply, for East is intuitive at reading the body. There’s an element of deadly class exuded throughout “Russia,” not unlike that of the Easten Promises protagonist. Should Dave East be approached at knifepoint in a bathhouse, there’s little doubt he would emerge from the scuffle with minor contusions.
In truth, I grappled internally about whether to highlight “Russia” or the Murda Beatz and Trouble assisted “Ain’t Goin.” In the end, the sheer force of East’s “Russia” hits harder than Ovechkin’s post Stanley cup bender. It must be respected accordingly.