David Orobosa Omoregie - known professionally as Dave - has finally released his debut studio album, Psychodrama. His first EP, Six Paths, was released in 2016 and immediately signalled the arrival of a phenomenal talent in UK hip-hop. Born in Brixton, South London, Omoregie's entire life feels like it has been leading up to this monumental achievement, and what a culmination of experiences Psychodrama is.
The concept album chronicles the narrative of Dave's confessional and immersive therapy sessions, intertwining the cuts to craft a dense vision. Honestly, there's so much to absorb here, perhaps too much on first listen. That's certainly not a criticism, as after numerous listens, the record just gets better and better. All the hard work has truly paid off, as the album managed to reach the top spot amongst the week's Official Album's Chart. It was a close race, as it faced hot competition from British band Foals' fifth studio offering, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1. Did Psychodrama deserve to be crowned?
Number 1 album in the country. Glory be to god. Thank you to everyone who supported cause I owe you everything. Best day of my life pic.twitter.com/IutTCB33oe— SANTAN (@Santandave1) March 15, 2019
Personally, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1 is up there with 2010's Total Life Forever, boasting some of the group's most wonderful material; it could even be a superior work. Foals have long been one of Britain's most respected guitar bands, and have risen to become as widespread as many of us knew they could be. The new record has been a huge success and fans are already eager to hear Part 2, of which is estimated to arrive September 20, 2019.
It's difficult because the record would have deserved to reach number one, it's just a classic case of bad timing. Everything Not Saved is a terrific collection of work, but Psychodrama has something else going for it - it's genuinely essential. It's hard for an album to possess the imperative urgency that Dave's debut has. Dealing with themes of mental health and fragility leaves some tracks feeling like an open wound, allowing us to become scarily close to losing ourselves within the artist's tortured headspace. Fortunately for us, it's an undeniably fascinating mindscape to inhabit.
“Psycho“ perfectly sets the tone, offering listeners the perfect expository track to swiftly invest them in Dave's story. Make no mistake, this is such a personal record that it could only be the product of Omoregie; yet, it's already touched so many and helped capture desperations of racial inequality. In this sense, “Black“ almost acts as the album's unofficial anthem.
When you contrast it with such cuts as “Location (feat. Burna Boy)“, it really helps to convey the sheer range of this album as a whirlwind of highs and lows. It's a journey, and when the record dives into the emotional, sprawling “Lesley (feat. Ruelle)“ - a frightful tale of domestic abuse - you're left unable to turn away from the record's discomforting depths.
The track is genuinely a modern mini-masterpiece, sketching such an affecting portrait of a universal woman's tragedy. It's heartbreakingly intimate, but the overall message of the song feels optimistic, as artists like Dave are addressing this nightmarish reality with a statement: never suffer in silence. Of course, it's a simple message, but one so thoroughly explored here and one rarely told so powerfully.
PSYCHODRAMA. My debut album. March 8th pic.twitter.com/r7Jv5Ciqa5— SANTAN (@Santandave1) March 3, 2019
Psychodrama is a triumph for UK hip-hop and Dave has so much ahead of him. With this much talent at the ripe age of twenty, the avenues that he can explore are limitless. Some great records have emerged in 2019 so far, but this is destined to be one of the most important. Santan Dave is the real deal.
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