The best rapper in Britain right now
Adam England
12:10 23rd July 2021

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Dave's performance at the 2020 BRIT awards felt like a pivotal moment in British music. This young rapper, only a couple of years out of his teens, blew everyone away and made an impassioned stand against racism in the process: just his voice and a piano (okay, and acclaimed producer Fraser T. Smith too) making for an unforgettable performance of ‘Black’, perhaps his signature song. 

Today he’s back not even eighteen months later with his sophomore album...and it’s one that’s set to stay. It’s difficult to believe, sometimes, that David Orobosa Omoregie is just 23 years-old. His craft almost belies his age, if not for the injection of youthful vigour that accompanies the emotion and heart.

In many ways, he captures the zeitgeist of 2021 Britain on We're All Alone In This Together, at least through the lens of youth, referencing everything from Fruit & Barley squash to Jeremy Corbyn as he weaves his way through wordplay like a seasoned veteran. He’s becoming the voice of Gen Z, the conscious rap baton being passed down and Dave firmly lobbing it into the mainstream. 

Lead single ‘Clash’ featuring Stormzy is the sort of powerhouse collaboration that’s destined for streaming success, radio play and the latest Now compilation, and it’s clear to see why the track, recorded by two titans of British hip-hop, was so eagerly anticipated. “Tory puttin’ in Labour,” Omoregie raps, with the sort of political double entendre that is a perfect fit for the post-#Grime4Corbyn era. 

That said, the other collaborations on the album aren’t to be looked past either. Whereas on his debut the collaborations might have been more obvious—J Hus and Burna Boy among them—we’ve got electronic favourite James Blake, Swedish-Iranian up-and-comer Snoh Aalegra, and BOJ—one of the artists at the forefront of Nigeria’s Alté scene—here. 

‘Both Sides Of A Smile’, the track with Blake, runs for eight minutes and is full of haunting atmospheric textures. Blake’s influence is keenly felt, the mellow electronica reminiscent of a SBTRKT/Sampha project. It’s ambitious, but it works. 

To be honest, that could be said for the album as a whole. It feels, and flows, like a truly coherent record. At a time when albums are often produced with streaming and playlisting in mind, We’re All Alone In This Together clocks in at an hour long, and the tracks range in length from just over three minutes to nine minutes and fifty-five seconds. 

‘Heart Attack’, the ten-minute epic in question, is an emotional semi-autobiographical journey through knife crime, immigration, and Omoregie’s experiences as a young second-generation British-Nigerian man. Obvious reference points would be both ‘Black’ and Omoregie’s 2016 track ‘Panic Attack’, being hinted as being a sequel of sorts to the latter, but there’s shades of Kendrick Lamar’s ‘DUCKWORTH.’ here too, and the heart-rending inclusion of his mother’s voice towards the end of the track evokes thoughts of both Stormzy’s ‘100 Bags’ and Frank Ocean’s ‘Be Yourself’.

Not looking back or passing Go, Dave further cements himself as a bona-fide generational talent on We're All Alone In This Together. The best rapper in Britain right now? Even at the age of 23, you’d be hard pressed to argue otherwise. 

We're All Alone In This Together is out now.

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Photo: Press