Twitter / Santandave1

One of the characters in Zadie Smith’s On Beauty calls rappers modern-day poets. Dave’s second album We’re All Alone In This Together proves that these words are particularly pertinent in the case of the young British rapper - his work is filled with lyricism, poignancy, and an impressive mastery of the language for a musician as young as 23. In his new album, Dave combines stories of precarity experienced by migrants, members of the working class, or Black citizens in the UK with moving intimate narratives about family and love. This mixture of socially engaged rap with more personal accounts from Dave’s own life proves that he can deftly deal with almost any subject in his lyrics.

“Despite his young age, the young rapper knows exactly where he is going with his art”

We’re All Alone In This Together can be seen as a continuation of Dave’s previous album Psychodrama, which demonstrates that, despite his young age, the young rapper knows exactly where he is going with his art and single-mindedly creates a coherent body of artistic œuvre. Just like his debut work, his sophomore album is a testimony to male vulnerability. In the music genre so often dominated by braggadocio and accounts of toxic masculinity, drug dealing, or objective treatment of women, Dave, once again, is not afraid to acknowledge his struggles with mental health - he reveals that he suffers from anxiety and describes moments of mental breakdowns he went through: “I’m on the motorway, cryin’ in the driver’s seat.” This acknowledgement of male vulnerability and sensitivity fits beautifully with the delicate sounds of Dave’s piano that makes its appearance in most tracks of the album.

The album opener, "We're All Alone", tackles themes of loneliness and suicidal thoughts

Similarly to Psychodrama, We’re All Alone In This Together is a well-thought-out body of work with a coherent structure whose beginning and ending are bound by one overarching theme. In Psychodrama, throughout the whole album, we could hear fragments of Dave’s fictionalised conversations with his therapist, whereas in We’re All Alone In This Together, we are given snippets of conversations and sounds from the film set. Cinema is present in many elements of the album - in its lyrics when Dave compares his life to a motion picture: “I knew that my life was a film/From when I had to share a bed with my mum and I was pissin’ myself” or “Love’s a film and I’m just flickin’ through the parts I’m in”, in the opening sounds of a film reel, in the snippets of conversations from the film set interspersed between tracks, and, finally, in the album’s closer, when Dave reveals the reason behind the cinematic theme of the album by saying: “I’ma make a film for my mom/And tell her, “Tell to the world this album is just the soundtrack.”


Mountain View

The Genre of 2021: A Journey through the UK’s Alternative Hip Hop Scene

Dave has been rumoured to be working on a film, and in an Instagram post written after the release of the album, he confirmed that he’s in the process of making a film written for his mother. Thus, in a way, We’re All Alone In This Together is more than a music album - it’s also a record of the process of working on Dave’s cinematic debut. This double function of the rapper’s sophomore album makes it even more of a syncretic work that combines in itself poetry, music and cinema.

In the web of dark and heartrending stories woven by Dave throughout We’re All Alone In This Together, he makes sure not to leave his fans and listeners hopeless. The closing track of the album, "Survivor’s Guilt”, reveals to the audience a glimpse of light. Here, Dave raps: “I tell my fans we’re all alone in this together/You can trust me, all the shit that you been feelin’, you’re feelin’ with me.” Through these lines, he shows us that the title of the album is not a simple reference to the times of the pandemic in which the album was released, but also to the community of the marginalised that Dave strives to create in his album. On We’re All Alone In This Together there’s room for everybody: for members of the Windrush Generation, migrants from Eastern Europe, victims of the ongoing wars in the Middle East, those who struggle with their mental health, and, really, for every individual forced to live a precarious life.