In 2010, he released his first mixtape Change of Plans which gained him a little recognition. He later released the mixtapes Insomnia, American Greed, Don’t Sleep and No Regrets, solidifying his commitment to music. In 2013, East periodically sold drugs throughout Harlem to support himself and his music. He then released his sixth mixtape Gemini.
East on stage at his Hate Me Now Tour in June 2016.
In 2014, his music reached the ears of rapper, Nas who quickly looked for ways to contact East. Unbeknownst to Nas, East was close friends with Nas’ younger brother and fellow rapper Jungle, who quickly introduced the two. By the summer of 2014, East was the newest signee of Nas’ new Mass Appeal Records along with Bishop Nehru, Fashawn, Boldy James and Run The Jewels. In July 2014, he released his seventh mixtape Black Rose through the label, which received favorable reviews from music critics. In 2015, he released his eighth mixtape Hate Me Now which gained great recognition which allowed him to gain key features from well respected emcees such as, Pusha T, Nas, and two-thirds of The Lox, Jadakiss and Styles P.
In June 2016, XXL magazine revealed their annual Freshman Class for 2016, which included East, along with G Herbo, 21 Savage, Kodak Black, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty, Desiigner, Lil Dicky, Denzel Curry,and Anderson Paak. On July 7, 2016, East participated in the freshmen cypher along with Chicago’s G Herbo hosted by Philadelphia’s very own, DJ Drama. In August 2016, he released a joint extended play titled Born Broke, Die Rich with rapper Kur. In September 2016, East was featured on the BET Hip Hop Awards cypher alongside Young M.A., Ms. Jade, Kur and Sam Black. On September 29, 2016, he announced that he has signed a deal with Def Jam Recordings with the deal negotiated by Hip-hop executive Steven “Steve-O” Carless and the next day released the mixtape, Kairi Chanel, which peaked at number 38 on the US Billboard 200. Kairi Chanel featured a few notable names such as, Fabolous, The Game, The Diplomats; Cam’ron, Beanie Sigel, and 2 Chainz.
2017–2018: Acting debut and Paranoia 2
In January 2017, East made his acting debut, starring in BET’s Being Mary Jane series. He later appeared in Puma’s Tsugi Shinsei commercial and starred in rapper, Trina’s “It Ain’t Me” music video. In August 2017, East released his first studio Album, Paranoia: A True Story EP, supported by a few tracks such as “Perfect” featuring American Singer, Chris Brown, “Paranoia” along with Jeezy, and “Phone Jumpin” with Wiz Khalifa. The EP has peaked at number nine on the Billboard 200. Later in the year East released his 11th mixtape, Karma which was hosted by DJ Holiday. This was the beginning of the Karma series. This tape featured tracks such as “Militant” with Bronx rapper, Don Q. Chris Brown also reappeared on “Bentley Truck” track which was also featured on the Karma tape. In September 2017, East hosted the first annual Goldie Awards, a DJ and producer battle set taking place in New York City.
East started the new year by dropping his 12th mixtape Paranoia 2. On January 15, 2018. In February 2018 is when the rapper started to network and reach endorsements that would later further his career. In February, East signed a sponsorship with Belaire Rose. The signing of this deal led up to a promotional music video for the brand. The track is titled, “Fresh Prince of Belaire” by Rick Ross which featured East. March 2018, East signed an endorsement deal with New Era Cap launching his new “lifestyle” 59fifty fitted collection. Shortly after his newly found endorsement, East was featured in New Era’s “Claim the Crown” commercial along with some of the top MLB stars such as, Javier Baez, Jose Altuve, and award-winning producer, Mike WiLL Made-It. As things continued to look up for East, he released his 13th mixtape on July 27, 2018 which was titled Karma 2. This mixtape featured up-and-coming artists such as Lil Durk, Gunna and BlocBoy JB. He also had features from his two lifetime friends Kiing Shooter and Border Buck. Although this tape did not reach the same success has his first studio album, it still peaked at #41 on the Billboard 200. East is known for putting out music more frequently than other artists. In the same calendar year, Dave released his 15 mixtape which he joined his favorite MC, Styles P. The tape really exposed, and expressed the gritty street life of New York City.