Wow. You know 2019 is a good year for music when I’ve got a British rap album as a contender for my top 10 of the year. Usually, any hip hop from outside the continental U.S. leaves me cold, but Dave’s latest album is nothing short of brilliant. As a trained pianist, Dave can move deftly through time changes and bridges (check out his flow at about 2:30 into “Psycho,” for example). He can write songs that feel like something Elton John might have created if he’d been born poor and black (“Environment”). He can rep his English hood (“Steatham”) without sounding like a guy who really wishes he was born in the Bronx. His album brings consciousness (“Black”), self-revelation and genuine emotion–it taps into everything that makes hip hop a vital genre. Including an 11-minute opus that truly must be heard to be believed. Dave does things with words few people are capable of.

This is easily the best British rap album of all time.

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