Published Sep 30, 2016Indifference seems to be the latest fad in hip-hop, but Harlem native Dave East bucks the trend on Kairi Chanel. East approaches the mixtape with a rare and refreshing hunger that keeps the project from falling flat despite some flaws.
Named after the MC's daughter, Kairi Chanel is admittedly slow to grow. Sadly, most of the features on the project hold East back: Beanie Siegel phones it in on "The Real Is Back," Sevyn Streeter's over-singing on "From the Heart" makes an otherwise strong song lose some of its lustre and "Eyes on Me" is a downright unfortunate pairing — Fabolous is too seasoned for a song this juvenile. But with patience, the mixtape's strengths begin to reveal themselves.
Throughout the project, East's delivery is confident, gritty and features a finesse that can't be taught. "Keisha" highlights his knack for storytelling, a dying art among many of his peers. East and the Game pair up flawlessly on "Bad Boy on Death Row" and DC producer Mark Henry delivers crisp and enormous sound on "The Only Thing." Although hard to digest given today's turbulent times, East eloquently addresses tensions between the community and the police on the sombre "Don't Shoot." Again showcasing his flair for storytelling, East delivers chills as he begs an imaginary police officer to spare his life.
Kairi Chanel isn't perfect — East has made better tapes — but it's a solid effort, and East is brimming with potential. His raw talent, creativity and enthusiasm confirm that he's definitely still one to watch. (Mass Appeal)