Dave – Game Over

On the back of a month where he has released a first taste of his new EP “Question Time”, sold out his next UK tour and got in the live lounge with Joey Bada$$, here at In-Reach we thought it was time to write a follow-up to our One To Watch on UK grime emcee Dave.

Paddy Lawson guest article.

“I’ve had people try to play me/ Now I know those days over”. The mood of the album is set by the aggressive opener ‘Game Over’. It shares similarities with the ‘Six Paths EP’ opening track ‘Six Paths’. Dave talks of cutting wasters out of his life and not playing ‘Games’ anymore. “Catch that yute in the rave and well leave the party red like Jeremy Corbyn.”

Track 2, ‘Question Time’, released serves as a British version of Eminem’s BET cipher, which addresses all the political injustices in the UK and the USA. In this 7 minute masterpiece Dave touches on Syria drone strikes, his underpaid Mum, Brexit, Grenfell and offer advice to old, existing and potential prime ministers. “I just find it funny how you can’t give a hand to Palestine but you can trade whole arms with Saudi Arabia.” If you’ve got more than five brain cells this one’s bound to resonate at least a touch. Preach bro.

Dave switches to a jumpy flow on ‘Attitude’ over a more wavy beat. He introduces his problems with girls, which he discusses more later in the EP. “All my friends know I don’t do drugs but when I stunt I want my ex-to-see (ecstasy)”. Track 4 ‘Calling me out’, continues on the same theme of girl issues. The vibe of this song is a bit more J-Hus-y or Kojo Funds-y, with a bunch of hard quotables. “A chick saw me whippin’ excursion/ Same girl wanna holla-man (HollowMan).” Nice little ref to the Peligro track.

The last two more playful songs seem to serve as an intro to ‘How I Met My Ex’, which has a much more deep agenda. It is another long song that seems to be the stand out talking point of the album. With Dave’s tendency to tell stories from a different perspective to most rappers, this track talks of him meeting a girl, but holding her back and eventually having to let her go. The honesty embedded in the lyrics strikes comparisons with the storytelling styles of the likes of Nas, Kendrick and a bit of Mike Skinner. Conscious rap.

The serious tone is briefly alleviated by the Steel Banglez prod. ‘No Words’ feat. Mo-Stack, which will certainly be banging out car soundsytems at the traffic lights and raves alike. Mo-Stack and Dave flow back to back discussing girls and beef. It’s the flow that had me rinsing this one. If you haven’t seen the video already, check it out. Dave’s new Stoney’s too fresh.

The album closer ‘My 19th Birthday’, is my favourite off the album, and if you only check out one song from the EP, check this one. In this Dave is really venting, getting shit of his chest. The story starts with Dave celebrating his 19th birthday in hospital visiting his brother. He repeats the phrase ‘Different kinds of problems’, and sheds light on various personal problems such as friends’ girlfriends sending nudes, materialism, his ill brother in jail and friends in jail who he doesn’t have time to write to. Showing that just because he’s grown in success and fame, life still has issues. Mid-song the beat switches a little and so does the mood when he starts to thank his friends and his team. The title of the track really highlights how Dave is wise beyond his age. ‘If you touch my money you can see what I’m about/ You can ask your little sister I will be  inside your house/ Eating from your fridge, feet up on your couch/ Tell your little brother ‘Butter me a sandwich spreading evenly amounts.’’

Dave can’t make a wrong move at the moment, and its refreshing to see someone so successful from making real music. For me, Game Over serves as a continuation of Six Paths, telling the story along his chosen ‘Path’ in music. A combination of well told stories, clever lyricism and sick production makes this a must-listen to old and new fans alike.

I saw Dave in Manchester last year, and it was one of the shows of the year for me. So enjoy if you’re lucky enough to have got a ticket and get searching on resale sites if not.