Three years ago, Dave came on our radar, his freestyle videos and his unbridled abilities on ‘Thiago Silva’ proved he could hold his own in the world of grime and rap. Dave, now aged 20, has released his long-awaited debut studio album, Psychodrama (named after a form of role-play psychotherapy). But is it as good as we all wanted it to be?
It’s better – after reaching number 1 in the UK album charts, it has now been named one of the most significant bodies of British rap music in a generation.
Opening with ‘Psycho’, the album begins on the perfect note, as we are immediately submerged into the life and struggles of Dave. The album is almost like a therapeutic experience for us all, as he explores his life, identity, and challenges. But this isn’t all Dave has to offer, of course. Songs like ‘Black’ – named the album’s unofficial anthem – are emblematic of the finesse and talent of the young artist. It contrasts with cuts such as ‘Location’ (ft. Burna Boy) and we are able to understand holistically the sheer range of the album, and of Dave himself.
Dave’s Psychodrama has successfully opened up a new chapter in his career
Songs such as ‘Streatham’ and ‘Screwface Capital’ stick to Dave’s formula of modern UK rap, delivering odes to his home city, London. They match his usual ability of intricate wordplay and lyrical mastery. His softer offerings in ‘Purple Heart’ and ‘Voices’, however, appealed to me more as it was clear Dave’s increasingly diverse audience has been able to open up his range. In Psychodrama, it is clear he has shown he can absorb more influence, movement, colour. He has clearly found new ways of delivering his message. His lyrics are bold and honest.
Psychodrama is a triumph for UK hip-hop and rap, and Dave has been able to prove his talents once again. Over 11 songs, we delve deep into the musical mind that is Dave, his forward-thinking style, raw emotions, and talent are what really propel him to the top of the UK rap scene. I don’t think there is any contest, Dave’s Psychodrama has successfully opened up a new chapter in his career, and we all await what he does next.