Damn Magazine

Music: Torment to Triumph : The Story of Santan

Santan Dave has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top of the UK grime scene, and there’s no sign of him slowing down.

With ‘Funky Friday’ being Dave’s second release of 2018, after D-E-E-P track ‘Hangman’, The funky track took the UK Charts by storm, achieving #1 on its first entry. It was also described as ‘a song that will go down in U.K. rap history’ by lyric analysts Genius. Dave’s clever bars and Fredo’s iconic style, mixed with a catchy instrumental, led to it receiving 6.7 MILLION streams on Spotify in one week. However, this is not the only song to have caught attention from the public…

In fact, little known Canadian rapper Drakedebuted a remix of Dave’s track ‘Wanna Know’. The remix debuted at #72 in the UK Charts and peaked at #52, making the remix Dave’s first entry into the charts.

But how exactly has the politically inspired rapper managed to get everyone wanting to knowmore about his childhood, and his rise to the top of the UK Grime scene.

Santan Dave, often shortened to ‘Santan’ or just simply ‘Dave’, was born in Streatham, a district within South London. The area built a reputation of crime throughout the 1980s, and this is not Dave’s only link to crime.

Born on 5thJune 1998, Santan has mentioned the fact that two of his brothers are currently incarcerated. In his first release of 2018 ‘Hangman’, Dave states that his brother has ‘a ‘f***ing life sentence’ and in a freestyle posted to YouTube channel Black Box in 2015, he says his brother ‘got 18 (years) for a f***ing knife crime’.

In addition to his siblings being locked up, he also mentions that when his grandma died, his mum was ‘stricken’ and ‘talking suicide’. So it’s clear to see that the MOBO winning rapper did not have the easiest of upbringings. Although, this hasn’t stopped him from reaching the top…

In an interview with YouTube channel Nation of Billions, Dave said ‘I can’t stand for being second best and I know I have the potential to do this, so it’s time for me to go out there and prove it’, and he has definitely proved it to us.

As well as Dave’s genius lyrics, he is also a keen pianist, after being given a piano by his mother for his 12thbirthday. He has also mentioned that he ‘came of B’s’, and it should also be noted that Dave studied ‘Philosophy and Ethics, Law and Music’. So it’s clear to see that he is educated and knowledgeable enough to be spitting bars about political issues, which is evident in his widely praised 2017 track Question Time.

Dave fires shots at Theresa May over her response to the Grenfell tower fire, calling her response ‘ridiculous’ and referring to her as a ‘coward’. The 7 minute song is one of Santan’s most personal songs, with many of his tracks oozing emotion from the start to the very end.

The 20-year old rapper does not, however, shy away from releasing bangers that appeal to a wider audience, with single Funky Friday and Dave’s 2ndEP Game Over achieving over 15 million plays combined.

Another thing that Dave has been praised for is the way he has responded to his recent fame; staying humble and not forgetting the people who have helped him become one of the most recognizable grime artists in the UK. Dave really has been a credit to the community of Streatham and London as a whole, showing that no matter what background you come from, you can still achieve success.

Dave took a big step in his quest for stardom on the 25thSeptember 2018, as he announced his first European tour, with the tour starting in Paris on November 7thand finishing in Amsterdam on 16thNovember. He referred to the tour as ‘amazing’, however this tour will be seen as but a stepping stone to the top, as Dave carries on growing as not only a rapper but also as a role model for young people.

A personal praise of mine for Santan Dave is the way he can give his opinion on sensitive subjects through his music, whilst still making the music relevant to whoever is listening. You can really feel the amount of effort that has gone in to every song that he has ever released, and the emotion in his music is more apparent than any other artist I have ever heard.

Simply put, Santan Dave’s journey as a grime artist has only just begun and I, along with millions of others are excited to see just how far this articulate lyricist can go.

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