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Dave's Psychodrama wins Mercury Prize (2019)

Dave, Psychodrama

Story by Jack Foley

RAPPER Dave has won the coveted Mercury Prize for his debut album, Psychodrama.

The Streatham-born star beat the likes of Foals, The 1975 and Anna Calvi to the accolade, which recognises the best British album of the last year.

Mercury Prize judge Annie Mac said the album “showed remarkable levels of musicianship” as well as “true artistry, courage and honesty”.

The LP itself was inspired by Dave’s own brother, Christopher, who is serving a life sentence for murder and the therapy he is receiving during his incarceration.

The therapy in question sees offenders role-play events from their past to help with their rehabilitation. The lyrics therefore find the 21-year-old casting an eye back over his own life to see what lessons he can learn.

But it also took on wider issues, with lead single, Black, focusing on the perception of black people in Britain. The remaining ‘vignettes’ that comprise the LP find Dave grappling with grief, pain, domestic abuse and depression as well as his brother’s incarceration.

Since its release in March, Psychodrama went straight to No.1 and has sold 129,354, copies to date.

Upon accepting his award, Dave – aka David Orobosa Omoregie – said: “I did not expect this.” He went on to dedicate the award to his family and friends, including his brother.

This year’s Mercury Prize was the 28th edition of the prestigious awards. Previous winners have included Pulp, Dizzee Rascal, Elbow, Skepta, Arctic Monkeys and last year’s victors, Wolf Alice.

Judges for 2019 included Radio 1’s Clara Amfo, Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes, Glastonbury headliner Stormzy and rock critic Will Hodgkinson. They had to make their shortlist – and pick their eventual winner – from more than 200 entries.