Dave East Signs to Def Jam, Reveals Nas Will Executive Produce His Major Label Debut

Noel Vasquez/Getty Images for Hennessy 
Dave East performs at Hennessy V.S Limited Edition by Scott Campbell Bottle Launch event at MAMA Gallery on July 14, 2016 in Los Angeles. 

Dave East has officially joined the Def Jam roster. The Harlem rapper, best known for being Nas' prodigy and signee on Mass Appeal Records, announced his new deal on Power 105.1's The Breakfast Club on Thursday morning (Sept. 29).

"Mass Appeal is still the family, but I actually just did a joint venture with Def Jam," he said. "I am very excited about it." He added of the deal, "It wasn't just the average [deal of] me signing to a major -- I'm actually partners with [Def Jam]. It was just a step forward for me. I was with Mass Appeal solely for almost two years."

East went on to explain the role his mentor, who he says will still executive produce his first album for Def Jam, played in his new deal: "Nas really introduced the world and a lot of people to me -- that was ideal as far as me first coming in. It's at a time now where a machine really helps what I'm trying to do, especially being from New York and not trying to just stay in New York. I'm not trying to be underground or classified as a certain type of dude, so I feel like this was a good move to really try and get my brand, my movement across the world."



Hip-hop executive Steve "Steve-O" Carless helmed East's Def Jam deal, a "multi-million-dollar venture" with Triangle Offense, a management company launched by East and his longtime manager, Wayno Clark, a source close to the situation tells Billboard. Mass Appeal Records is included in the deal as a distribution partner. 

"Us deciding to partner with Def Jam was due in part to Steve, [Def Jam's vice president of A&R] Noah Preston and the label's enthusiasm for having us," Wayno said in a statement sent to Billboard

Dave East Talks Upcoming Project 'Kairi Chanel', Hints at Potential Feature On Nas' Next Album

Triangle Offense is home to artists Jazzy Amra and Matt Patterson, as well as producers Buda & Grandz, Rico Suave and Automatik Beats. In addition, hip-hop influencer Karen Civil, who has worked on the digital front for artists such as Nipsey Hussle, Jeezy and Lil Wayne, will handle the social media and marketing initiatives for Dave East through the Marathon Agency. 

East's forthcoming project Kairi Chanel, the follow-up to his Hate Me Now set released in October, will mark his final independent release under Mass Appeal Records. His major-label debut (title to be announced) is slated for release in 2017 via Def Jam Records.