Glass attends Dave’s Game Over Tour at KOKO Camden London

SOUTH LONDON-born Dave Santan, simply known as Dave, is a young rapper with a difference. Incorporating lyrics that are politically charged, motivational and also completely personal, Dave’s strength lies in his vulnerability. Intrigued by this new-age artist, Glass attended a London date of Dave’s Game Over Tour this December. Taking over KOKO Camden, the sold-out show saw hundreds of fans, as well as Dave’s friends and family, gathered at the former theatre. Clad in a youthful white Stone Island tracksuit, such attire is perhaps the only reminder that the artist known for penning meaningful lyrics is a mere 19 years old.

Dave Game Over Tour Dave performing on his Game Over tour in KOKO Camden

Opening with the title track from his latest EP Game Over, the artist fuses haunting electronic beats reminiscent of video game soundtracks with a message of maturing and moving away from negativity. Dave uses music as a platform for storytelling, leading the listener through relatable narratives. Communicating tales in such performances as the confessional How I met my Ex is both ancient and post-modern as Dave’s openness to be emotional demonstrates to a young crowd the importance of expressing feelings. Taking a page out of the books of currently limelighted performers like Stormzy and Drake, hip-hop/grime continues to be layered with deeper meaning, tackling rising issues of mental health by wearing your heart on your sleeve.

The track-listing seamlessly flows as Dave explains each song before-hand and the ideology he intended to connote when writing it. Hitting each bar of his complex, unstructured tracks perfectly, the artist showcases his talent, proving his worth within the music industry. Surprising the crowd with fellow UK rapper’s J Hus, AJ Tracey and MoStack, the energy never fails to fall as each guest creates a new wave of hype, creating an atmosphere packed with spirit.

Dave Game Over TourDave performing on his Game Over tour in KOKO Camden

Dealing with topics such as ISIS, Brexit, the state of the NHS and Grenfell Tower by directly addressing Theresa May, David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn about the issues, levels beyond making money as the teenager aims to spread messages of social awareness. “I’ve got a question for the new prime minister. At Grenfell Tower, your response was ridiculous. You hid like a coward behind your five million. Dodged responsibility and acted all innocent.” Dave inspires an audience to understand and listen to his music, guiding them to take a more serious stand on national matters by becoming ‘woke’.

Dave’s political views may be pressing and intelligently weaved within song, however this doesn’t prevent the gig from being an upbeat celebration of Santan’s career. The artist shows his versatility by switching from ballads into vibrant hits such as No Words and Thiago Silva, creating different vibes throughout the night. Interchanging through old and new projects, the musician holds the attention of the packed-out space as the eyes are greeted with themeatical lighting and graphics as the ears are treated to the charming tone of his youthful voice. Most memorably, Wanna Know (famously remixed by Dave’s influencer Drake) proved to be a crowd favourite as all chanted along to the single that helped rocket Dave’s career to a mainstream level.

Dave Game Over TourDave performing on his Game Over tour in KOKO Camden

Intelligently understanding music not only through his role-models and current charts, Dave also uses music as opportunity to convey thoughts and feelings to his demographics. The Streatham songwriter possesses the unique ability to write accounts on relationships, work, friends and incorporate his opinions on current affairs, using this a basis to create completely listenable, accessible and most importantly, enjoyable EP’s. Still within the early days of his ever-growing career, Dave remains completely humble and down-to-earth, a quality which continues to attract fans nationwide and around the world.

by Joseph Furness

Dave’s Game Over EP is available to stream and buy now