Dave Psychodrama Neighbourhood Recordings
There aren’t many coming-of-age stories in UK rap that have been as well-crafted and emotionally vivid as Dave’s Psychodrama. At least not since Boy in Da Corner.
The Streatham-born rapper’s debut album is punctuated with skits, largely featuring the voice of a therapist who, as the album progresses, challenges Dave to reconsider how he views himself. Across the journey, the 20-year-old explores race and identity through introspection and a sharp eye for injustice, which has become one of his signifying skills since his politically-charged 2017 anthem Question Time. But it’s the production from Fraser T Smith, Jae5, Nana Rogues and 169 that grounds Psychodrama, giving it an ominous but incisive foundation for Dave to express what he sees in the world around him.
Psychodrama, for all intents and purposes, is an earnest and vulnerable tale of a black British man seeking to find some understanding of himself. It’s also a story of being young, black and working class in a post-Brexit Tory Britain. On Screwface Capital Dave raps, “Good kid but I grew up ’round animals/ No chick can’t tell me about attitude/ I got girl from the Screwface Capital” reinforcing the dog-eat-dog survival tactics that many Londoners endure in the face of austerity.
Dave’s level of self-awareness and display of unabashed rawness allows listeners to be drawn in on an emotive level, allowing Psychodrama to resonate with young people across Britain. It’s no stretch of the imagination to consider Dave as one of the UK’s most important voices in a generation. Every so often, a record like Psychodrama comes to represent an era.