Dave East may have just released his debut album, but that doesn't make him a newbie in the music industry. With fourteen mixtapes released since 2010, along with several singles and EPs as well as five music videos, Nas' protégé has long established himself as a gifted storyteller, able to expose the nit and grit of New York City street life with his raw lyricism.
Growing up in East Harlem and Queensbridge, East stated in his recent GQ interview that his debut album, Survival, is a documentary on his life: "[The] intro to outro, speaking on things I never really spoke on before. If I could really put my life up until this point in words, that's Survival."
Not only does it show in his music, but it can also be seen in his taste for accessories too. In the same interview with GQ, the rapper and actor showed off his jewelry collection, proudly stating, "To me, they're like trophies. Little gifts to yourself for all the hard work you put in. So that's how I look at jewelry—like little trophies." And what a collection of trophies it is! Rocking a purple suit with an almost galaxy-like sheen, East pointed out his Cuban link chain that stood out like Orion's Belt, except way icier. The price? A jaw-dropping $300,000. He paired it off with a classy tennis chain that comes with a $120,000 price tag, stacking up the total to $420,000 with just two neckpieces.
Barely halfway through the interview, East wiped at his brow. "These are my sweatbands," he jokingly tells the interviewer before quickly describing the two iced out Cuban bracelets that line his wrist. The first one is in yellow gold with his daughter's initials on the clasp (matching another Cuban link chain with a $40,000 value), and the other is a two-tone masterpiece that matches his pinky ring and his $65,000 Rolex Sky Dweller. One of the other watches that he brought to attention is a $100,000 Patek Philippe watch—the first watch he ever bought when his rap money started coming in.
Other pieces in his collection that the rapper brought in for the interview are four tastefully frosty pendants, each with their significant meaning. The first one resembles a street sign, with a green1 Av embossed on it, which East described as the street where his grandmother used to live. He further explained that he had the $30,000 pendant-and-chain made in remembrance of her and the neighborhood where he grew up. On the second pendant he brought, which hasFTD on it in the design of the NHL logo, East explains that it stands for From the Dirt, his record label. He later added that it's the piece in his collection that he'd like to have done in different sizes and on rings so he could give them as gifts.
Next up is a bustdown lion head pendant, which embodies how the rapper felt, "I feel like I've been in the jungle for so long, you know?" (a possible nod to his troubled teenage years, imprisonment, as well as his aptly titled debut album). The last piece of jewelry the rapper and actor showed is an upnyc pendant given to him by his friend Fat Joe and is the logo of the New York legend's sneaker store.
Even if the cost of some of his jewelry wasn't revealed, one thing we can say bout Dave East is that he's got style, class, and an appreciation for life—the struggles and victories that come with it, the importance of family and friends—the mark of a true artist and survivor.