Lee Hawthorn looks at the searing political criticism in Dave’s latest release ‘Question Time’.
“The hip-hop that raised this kid is one that spoke up” raps Joe Budden on Idols, sceptical of the new generation of rappers. One young upstart that is proving hip-hop is still a culture which strives to hold powerful figures to account is London’s Dave.
Formerly known as Santan Dave, the London rapper attained international critical acclaim for his 2016 EP Six Paths. Wanna Know, a single from the project, was given the infamous Drake remix treatment which catapulted Dave into another stratosphere of popularity.
Since Drake’s co-sign of the young MC, Dave’s sound has become more accessible. Working with J Hus on Samantha led to many fans questioning whether the London rapper would begin chasing his next hit, or stay true to the more traditional hip-hop sound which impressed so many on Six Paths.
Question Time, the latest single from his recently announced Game Over, is the opposite of a hit record. It’s the type of song that will create headaches for radio stations. We’re not in an election period, as was the case during the release of Captain Ska’s controversial Liar Liar. Therefore the OFCOM regulations aren’t quite so straightforward – but many radio stations won’t want to make an enemy of the government.
“It’s the type of song that will create headaches for radio stations”
Dave clearly isn’t worried about making enemies at 10 Downing Street. Checking Theresa May at potentially the worst possible time for the Prime Minister. After a horrific Conservative Party conference last week, and increasing pressure after a multitude of mistakes, the last thing May needs is an influential musician directly targeting her robot-like mannerisms in front of cameras, mismanagement of the NHS crisis and the wars in the middle east.
May isn’t Dave’s only target on Question Time. David Cameron is brandished as a coward for resigning after the EU referendum. Dave harshly questions what type of example that sets for Cameron’s son.
On the other side, Dave doesn’t forget to address Jeremy Corbyn. Many hip-hop and grime artists including Stormzy and Jme have backed the Labour leader to become Prime Minister, but Dave isn’t entirely convinced. Dave demands Corbyn doesn’t make promises but prove he really wants to make a difference with his actions – including getting justice for Rashan Charles and Edison Da Costa.
Question Time isn’t going to be the next Wanna Know and attain global success, even if there’s acknowledgement to international political scandals too. As far as UK hip-hop releases are concerned, this is the most important release of recent memory. When was the last time an artist with such a large platform used his voice to hold the government to account?