Back in 2016, Dave East got played by a sketchy ass female named “Keisha” on his fifth studio album, Kairi Chanel. In my opinion, regardless of how much was stolen from the Mass Appeal signed-rapper, this specific track is why I refer to East as the King of Harlem. If I was East though, I would be mad too if my late-night hookup stole my Rolex Watch, diamond chains and $15k from my pants as I slept after doing the dirty with a stranger.
Now finally two albums later, we are invited to hear where Keisha ran off too. Originally I had thought that maybe Keisha was being used as a pawn to get back at East, and turns out I was right. In “I Found Keisha”, this dude Tim (that Dave’s group knows) had been pushing drugs and Keisha was doing her own side jobs stealing money and other items from her victims of love. To open the track, the Harlem rapper mentions that he may end up at Bellevue, a NYC Hospital, because he’s going crazy looking for this woman. Eventually, his friend James makes the plan to break into Tim’s house ready to take revenge, and shoots Keisha when he finds her in the bathtub.
This sequel track is another confirmation that Dave East still runs modern day gangster rap for New York. One ideal in particular is that he “told on himself”, a normal occurrence we see from harder rappers, not because they want to go to jail (if the event actually took place) but because actions like murder prove to others that they don’t mess around. If you’re going to be a gangster and rep the streets, you have to prove it with drastic and unapologetic actions, and like Dave East, “don’t even care if I get locked up ’til I’m my pops’ age”.
It’s rare in hip hop to be blessed with a continuing story from previous tracks, even if the artist is a natural storyteller because artists are always producing new content based on their experiences. The Keisha saga in a way remembers a time in 1990’s hip hop when storytelling on a track was important and applauded; it celebrates intrigue and highlights a writer’s capability. We know that Dave East is signed to Mass Appeal / Def Jam under Nas and works with OG rappers like Ice Cube, so perhaps this is his way of paying homage to the ones that paved the rap path before him.
(Photo courtesy: Adrian Swish)