2016 – UK Rap On The Rise
2016 has been a tremendous year for the UK rap scene. Recently, the Grime world earned a historic win with rapper Skepta winning the Mercury award in the ‘Best Album Category’ for his album ‘Konnichiwa’ ahead of the likes of David Bowie, The 1975 and Radiohead – he’s the first Grime artist to do so since Dizzee Rascal in 2003. Earlier in the year, we saw Grime Collective Section Boyz send social media into shockwaves when they brought out Drake at their show in Shoreditch Village Underground. And to top things off, UK rapper Dave from Streatham, South West London, has had a remix of his track ‘Wanna Know’ premiered on OVO Sound Radio’s Birthday Edition by The 6 God. The remix will feature on Drake’s upcoming project ‘More Life’ which will be released in December.
Have a listen to the track here:
Santan Dave – The Boy From Streatham
For those unfamiliar with Dave, his hard hitting and raw lyrics about tales of his life growing up in South London have brought him notable recognition this year. From stories about his brother going to prison to how he found inspiration through music, his candid lyricism certainly hits the spot. His raw delivery is captured perfectly on his EP ‘6 Paths’ which he released following the Drake remix. Check it out here:
Perhaps what gained him the most traction this year is his bouncy track ‘Thiago Silva’ which was actually shot in Paris and is a cheeky reference to the Parisian football team’s captain Thiago Silva and features fellow UK rapper AJ Tracey – the track has amassed more than one million views on Youtube:
Fresh from announcing his ‘Boy Meets The World’ tour which hits the UK in February 2017 – it will be a shock if Drake doesn’t bring out Dave to perform the track together; you heard it here first. It’s no surprise however that Drake picked up on Santan Dave’s infectious track ‘Wanna Know’ - the hook says it all. He sings ‘'Cause all my man are running to the money/We be running like ay, ay, ay, ay /And all my man are running from them hoes on the roads like whoa whoa whoa, whoa.’ The hook is extremely catchy and will be stuck in your head for days; Drake, a master of hooks and someone who is becoming more and more involved in UK culture, was bound to pick up on a song of this nature. In his remix, Drake masterfully kills the hook with a few tasteful references to UK slang in his bars which will surely be appreciated by UK fans. The Toronto rapper rhymes: ‘Catties they be calling up my phone/Trying to get tickets to a show/Yeah, I got U.K. tings on the WhatsApp now/Like +44 on the code.’ The feel good vibe of Dave’s original is encapsulated in the music video which features visuals from Venice:
What does this mean for UK rap?
This wasn’t just a win for Dave; this was a big win for the UK rap scene. Hopefully this remix has opened the doors for more international collaborations and exposed artists like Dave to a worldwide fan base. Drake is undoubtedly the biggest name in Hip Hop right now so for him to pick up on this track says a lot about where Dave’s career is headed. The general reaction of this move can be summed up in a Youtube comment left on Dave’s original track which says: ‘I can’t believe a guy who lives on my road has had his song remixed by Drake…DRAKE!’ It serves as inspiration for the next generation of UK rappers that if they work hard and put out good quality content consistently then their talent will be recognised.