Fans of Dave East know him for his musical storytelling, which he previously delivered in a monotone voice. In his recently-released project Hoffa, however, he experiments with different inflections — a change he credits to a few coaching sessions and advice from J. Cole.
“I got a chance to lock in with J. Cole, just me and him in the studio with the engineer,” East said during a recent interview with Ebro Darden. “And he asked that same question, like, ‘Bro, I’m a fan of what you do, I really respect your pen but you rap with one tone.’ And I really sat and listened to myself, and a lot of my shit is one tone.”
After the constructive criticism, East said that he started using other tones and tapped Cole for some assistance along the way. “Me and him in the studio testing tones. He’s just really seeing how high I can take my voice, how low I can take it, and then he just was like, ‘Apply that to your music. Watch the difference,’” East said of Cole’s advice. “That’s just something I gotta keep working at, keep working at. I think it will be something dope to add to my music.”
“I really don’t want to do it no other way,” East said of his decision to lock in with Fraud. “You can really focus on the music. When you have 50 producers, they all got lawyers, they all got interns, everybody has to sign off, nah. We did this so smooth, and you can hear it in the music.”
“That’s what the producer is supposed to do,” added Fraud. “A lot of rappers have become vocal producers in their own rights. It’s my job to make sure all they have to do is rap. Of course I want their input, I want Dave’s input on everything. But he shouldn’t have to be pulling his hair out worrying about anything but rapping, especially when we’re creating. He should only be worried about creating the best thing.”