Dave: "Psychodrama" - S&C Album Review

Dave bares all in his intimate and personal reflection “Psychodrama” - a deep and meaningful British rap record, one which will affect all but the most stone-hearted of listeners…

At 20 years old, UK artist Dave (Real name David Orobosa Omoregie) is arguably just starting out in life - and yet he has been through experiences some of those twice his age have not even got close too (both the good and the bad). Speaking genuinely from the heart at many points in his latest offering, it is clear to see Dave is wise beyond his years. Part MC, part social commentator, he offers important opinions on real life issues - this isn’t just consumable rap-by-numbers, bars-and-beats stuff. While plenty of his contemporaries are hyping and squabbling over decade-long beefs, Dave’s voice cuts through the noise and shines out.

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Drawing inspiration from his own experiences and those his older sibling faced while in prison and undergoing therapy, “Psychodrama” is a touching, somewhat conceptual album - a rollercoaster ride through the constant day-to-day battles that a person can face with their surrounding world, via themes of class, background, race, relationships and more. To give you a snapshot, “Streatham” rawly sets the scene of Dave’s childhood, “Black” is a bold and crucial exploration of race in British culture, and the 11-minute epic “Lesley” is a moving story about domestic abuse. This is an album which does not shy away from the profound.

Dave recently commented that the album follows a structure comprising of 3 “acts”: “environment”, “relationships” and “social compass”. As the album progresses and unravels, “Psychodrama” becomes a real journey of self-discovery, anger, fear and ultimately faith.

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With a collection of the industry’s most respected and revered producers - including Fraser T Smith, 169, Nana Rogues and long time collaborator Jae 5 on duty for the beats - “Psychodrama” is a listening delight, with expertly crafted productions offering perfect canvases for Dave’s emotive and moving lyrics. At the point in the album where Dave details a lifetime of learnings and pressures and difficulties on highlight track “Black”, every single strike of the piano key delivers an emphasis on the defiant and dexterous wordplay.

On the rare occasion where we can sit still, listen to and appreciate a full album - in a world focussed on the instant single-based gratification that streaming services offer - it is a green light when that work compares to that of the greats. This album takes us back to the Spring of 2016 when Kano’s glorious “Made In The Manor” had the nation worshipping him once more, wearing T Shirts and screaming “New Banger” throughout the Summer. This time, the message is gentler, but arguably bolder and broader, one of taking care of each other. In “Psychodrama”, Dave and his collaborators have produced nothing short of a masterpiece.

Strawberries Creem