(SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Single Review: Dave – Revenge

By on Tuesday, 18th April 2017 at 12:00 pm

Words by Leyla Leonard

Dave is back, and the 18-year-old South Londoner ‘s new single ‘Revenge’ is a bold statement from the young wordsmith. Anyone who has followed Dave’s career to date will know his musicianship and lyricism stand alone, and ‘Revenge’ serves to strengthen this. The single was produced by longtime collaborator Fraser T. Smith, whose credits include recent collaborations with both Stormzy and Kano, and who has made the unlikely journey from prog rock guitarist to helping shape the UK’s vibrant grime scene.

As an artist, Dave manages to smack down any form of pigeonholing with his emotive, melodically charged piano playing, as well as spitting bars with enough fire to light up even the darkest night sky. Having already collaborated with London scene peers and fellow rising stars AJ Tracey on the bouncy, lyrical back an forth ‘Thiago Silva’, and the UK Afro beat king J Hus on ‘Samantha’. Anyone unsure of Dave’s often poetic lyrical ability and understanding of his environment only has to watch his performance of ‘Panic Attack’ as part of BBC Radio 1’s Future Festival. One piano, one spotlight and Dave’s words. It’s impressive to say the least, taking you a personal journey of urban tragedy and experience through the eyes of Dave. It’s hard to mention the artist without touching on ‘Wanna Know’, the track that Drake jumped on the remix of earlier this year after spotting the Streatham Vale raised Londoner on YouTube, and took Dave’s name to an international audience. Although with or without the co-sign, it’s becoming clear that Dave has the talent and the ambition to get there on his own, and on his own terms.

On ‘Revenge’, we hear possible nods to the roots of grime and the ‘90s computerized beats that often featured on early grime instrumentals such as ‘Pulse X’ and ‘Rhythm ‘N’ Gash’. The theme of gaming carry over into the visuals with ‘Game Over’ graphics popping up that put you in the position of the player. His bars flow effortlessly over the synths as he weaves in and out of stories of younger years on the roads, and his mind set that overcame circumstance and pushed him to pursue his ambition. ‘Revenge’ maintains a steady tempo and almost acts as a mission statement. Dave and his friends have a plan and it’s clear that is already working. The payback is in motion and in this game, Dave is out to win: “Content with your life on the block you’re a mess no vision, you don’t have the fucking ambition”.

The track carries on this wave of insightful, playful lyrics that have already come to define the young musician. “I remember when I rapped in school for the love and my teachers thought it would never get me far…now ‘Wanna Know’ is taking over cities like Genghis Khan.” This latest offering is confident, ambitious and authentic, serving young London in a way those in more traditional forms of power could never even touch on, because put quite simply he has walked in the same shoes as so many struggling to make sense of how to fight the social restraints holding them back. But perhaps most importantly, there is a sense of only just getting a glimpse of what Dave is capable of. If ‘Revenge’ demonstrates his current musical ability, it’s more than exciting to think of Dave in 10 years’ time. Dave’s social commentary IS the art of street art, and his future will likely be nothing less then blinding.


Dave’s new single ‘Revenge’ is out now. You can read editor Mary’s coverage of Dave at BBC Radio 1 showcase Tuesday night at SXSW 2017 at the British Music Embassy through here.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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