Thursday night, London rapper Dave took home the Mercury Prize for his debut album, Psychodrama.
“Psychodrama allowed me to get a lot off my chest,” he said. “It allowed me to become the person that I wanted to live up to being. It allowed me to fulfill my potential, changing the way people see me and the way I see myself. It was the album that I needed it to be, the album that was expected of me.”
The debut album has earned the British rapper comparisons to the likes of Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole, featuring songs like “Black,” which explores his own relationship with his Blackness and what that means.
“That track is my experience. Me being south London, Black, Nigerian, that’s what I’m mainly basing it on,” he told The Guardian in March. “It’s a good representation of what I associate with and everything that I think, but I don’t think that it’s universal for the whole Black experience, because there’s too many different races and dynamics within the race of Black. For a Black person who’s Senegalese, growing up in France, or a New York Jamaican, that’s a completely different relationship with being Black and how you might be accepted in that culture or that world. Everyone’s experience is different. Especially Black women and black men.”
Born David Orobosa Omoregie in Brixton, South London, the Nigerian-British rapper released his first EP, Six Paths, in 2016, followed by Game Over in 2017.
Dave was joined on stage by his mother as he picked up his Mercury Prize. “She’s given me my life,” he told reporters backstage. “I literally owe everything to her and God. So to have her here, and to have her experience this, is surreal. She’s just been screaming. She’s gone crazy. It’s not easy to make your mum feel like she’s got something to scream and shout about.”