There is no rapper in the U.K. quite like Dave. Still in an age of adolescence, England’s biggest hope for hip hop combines social realism and braggadocios bars in an attempt to infiltrate the UK’s unbearably bland mainstream music scene. Streatham born, the rapper has taken pride in his roots, narrating tales of life in London in an introspective, but equally political manor. This album feels like a definitive moment for U.K. music, a potential opportunity to broaden the minds of many that are so narrow.
The lead track, ‘Black’, was far from your normal single; a melancholic ode to black culture, the masterpiece is as good of proof as any that he deserves his status as a platinum selling, Ivor Novello winning artist. His last four singles have all hit the top 40 of the Billboard charts, with the Fredo featuring ‘Funky Friday’ (his only number 1 to date) optimising the ambitions of artists coming out of Brixton.
Undoubtedly one of the most influential Producers in the U.K., Fraser T. Smith has been a huge factor in pushing the talent of the underground into the successes of the mainstream. Combining with the sounds of Jae5 and 169 on ‘Location’ and ‘Screwface Capital’, his sorcery compliments the afro-beat, grime and dancehall deviancies Dave has helped to establish. The whole project therefore feels very organic, the ongoing narrative of his therapy and the love/hate relationship he has with his upbringing generates an emotionally enticing story; ‘Streatham’ optimises this, but as the album proceeds we hear, real name, David Orobosa Omoregie opening up about tales of abuse and love too.
Dave’s signature wordplay and metaphorical links to popular culture shine brighter than ever; “my bros are blacksmiths like Jayden and Willow” the South Londoner spits on the album opener ‘Psycho’. Border line poetic, despite its deep and darker meaning, this is one of the hardest bars I’ve heard all year, and forces his fans to concentrate on the semiotics of his lyricism. The bars in ‘Darker’ shows his respect for the scene that has nurtured him, referring to JME “because Man Don’t Care” is such an engaging way to portray Dave’s feelings.
This is undeniably a new age for the artist. Dave has progressed from the heavily materialistic lyricism that shone through previous singles like ‘Thiago Silva’, however the rawness Of tunes in this calibre would have been nice to hear on ‘Psychodrama’. The vigorous energy in his previous beats have been replaced by more elaborate, layered instrumentals. This is by no means a criticism, but it may catch some of his original fans slightly off guard.