Dave – "Psychodrama"
(Neighborhood Recordings / Caroline, since March 8)
So much excitement about a hip-hop track did not exist in the UK for a long time, and "Black" is not even talking about sex, drug or violence excesses, topics that would otherwise serve as triggers, rap music to be classified as amoral or harmful to minors. No, why Annie Mac, star presenter of BBC Radio 1, found herself forced, is that the singleton featuring sluggish beats, elegiac piano strumming, choirs and strings is highly political – and her creator one of the most successful hip-hop newcomers of the past few years: Dave shot only 20 years old with his single "Funky Friday "topped the charts last summer and took part , a seven-minute indictment track against England's current and former prime ministers as the youngest artist to receive the prestigious Ivor Novello Award. Hotter as Dave does not do it in UK pop right now.
All the more surprising that the South African-based Afro-Brit did not put any of his eleven successful singles on his debut album, as would have been customary in the Spotify sound wallpaper and binge streaming scored scene. Instead, last Friday he released "Psychodrama", a musically very reduced concept album that looks like an elegant update to Chuck D.'s idea of rap as CNN of a marginalized black community. However, the scene of this one-hour special report is not Brooklyn or the Bronx, but London with its social hardships against persons of color. It's perhaps the most important British rap album since the revival of UK rap five years ago, which has spawned grime stars like Skepta and Stormzy, as well as political acts like Little Simz, Oscar #Worldpeace or Awate.
With his bitter analysis of an ambivalent battle concept "Black" is one of the central tracks of the album. Dave raps: "Black is beautiful, black is excellent", but then castigates the practice common in Western societies to pour all black lineages into a slogan, as racism: "Black is not just a single fuckin 'color, man / there's shades to it ".
Equally clearly, he reckons with the colonialism of the British in West Africa, where countries are still named after their exploited resources: "Gold Coast, Ivory Coast, Grain Coast". He also denounces the institutional racism of yellow media and the judiciary. He first quotes Kendrick Lamar, then: "A kid this, the blacker the killer, the sweeter the news / And if he's white you give him a chance, he's ill and confused"
The absence of trendy trap rap and autotune mannerisms in favor of a clear, pronounced presentation makes the album very sober and meaningful – the target audience here is not primarily the scene underground, but also, if not especially the white, bourgeois pop -Mainstream. But not consistently: When Dave in "Streatham", "Location", or "Screwface Capital" from his dreary youth before the fame reports, the tracks are looser and begin to bounce on resilient beats club and street suitable.
Andreas Borcholte's playlist KW 11
1. Dave: Black
2. Helado Negro: Running
3. Billie Eilish: Wish You Were Gay
4. Holly Herndon: Eternal
5. ANNAVR: Total_Vibration
6. Nilüfer Yanya: Tears
7. Roses Gabor: Turkish Delight
8. Jakuzi: Yangin
9. Tal Wilkenfeld: Killing Me
10. Connie Constance: English Rose
But whenever a – fictional – therapist from the off reflects on the emotional and mental knowledge progress of his patient, let Dave and producer Fraser T. Smith (including Drake, Adele) the musical again in the background. The dramatizing soundtrack – with its violin turmoil and all the piano pathos – could all too easily turn the "psychodrama" into a soap opera, but Dave's pounding style and enthralling flow repeatedly save him from kitsch.
Eleven minutes, the rapper takes time to retell the abuse drama of pregnant by her thug friend "Lesley" time – and then revealed almost incidentally in "drama" that the young woman comes from his family environment. The track itself is about Dave's imprisoned brother and the absence of fathers and role models, representing a generation of young men who see their only valid perspective in delivering their stories to a maximum of people with beats and rap. With Dave, an eminent new narrator has entered this stage. (9.0) Andreas Borcholte
PSYCHO DRAMA [Explicit]
Helado Negro – "This Is How You Smile"
(RVNG International / Cargo, since March 8)
Helado Negro is the most polite protest singer in the world. That was a problem for a long time. The first four albums by the Brooklyn-based songwriter Roberto Carlos Lange, which grew up in Florida, included mannered synth pop and ballads in the style of crooner Julio Jaramillo, the favorite artist of Long's parents (and most other Ecuadorians). Sufjan Stevens released it on his label Asthmatic Kitty. However, long-standing confessions of the fragmented identity and a Hispanic self-esteem derived from it are largely unheard of in overly restrained songs.
Then came the summer of 2015. Donald Trump opened an election campaign that was increasingly rampant on the backs of Latin American immigrants, and Helado Negro suddenly had an audience. His song "Young, Latin & Proud" was published two weeks after an openly racist speech by the future US president and became the mantra of resistance to threatened manners and beliefs. For a long time the song sang as gently as all the other songs on the album "Private Energy", which followed a good year later. But this time, his inward look revealed unimaginable potential for identification and fraternization.
Today there is still no wall between the US and Mexico, but Helado Negro has his next plate ready. "This Is How You Smile" is more than a celebration of honor for Lange's personal success story. With yet simplified songwriting and the renunciation of all unnecessary frills, the 39-year-old finally pushes to the core of his work. For four minutes, in the middle of the album, a track called "Running" revolves around itself. It consists of only a few piano chords, weightless drums and a few key words that may have flown to Lange in the recording studio. And still: A more beautiful song is hard to imagine.
Time and again "This Is How You Smile" is about family relationships as a symbol of solidarity, about the retreat into private life as a means of self-assurance. Song for song seems to take a long time in his new role as a representative of a minority without a lobby. "Brown wants to go / Brown just glows", he sings more gently at the beginning of the album, later in an unusually ghostly voice: "We'll take our turn / And we'll take our time / Knowing that we'll be here long after you. " Before and after, pop, folk and funk songs sound like snapshots, captured for an eternity in which the faint-hearted will laugh last. A man grabs the world in cotton wool. (8.4) Daniel Gerhardt
This Is How You Smile
Sigrid – "Sucker Punch"
(Vertigo Berlin / Universal, since March 8)
The connections in which pop music takes place are mostly produced by the listener. In that sense, what Sigrid does is clever. It does not only throw you pretty songs, but also situations. "Sucker Punch" starts with a scene like this: Two people, both in red hoodies, a short coffee in the hallway. Funny mood, because: emotions. In the clever "Sight Of You", the airline is dodging a suitcase.
Of course, there are further explanations that have to do with hearts, with those who have just been broken, but also with those who joyfully and lovingly, but in principle: The songs of Sigrid, with their single "Strangers" and their use in a mobile radio spot was also known in this country, have an identification potential that exceeds the usual of pop music. Even if the Norwegian sings about how she dances with her escort at the harbor at night, which in itself is a rather absurd picture, you can actually see her in the background: in the background the colorful wooden houses of her hometown Bergen, out of which the cruise tourists all sorts of stuff is sold. It is probably raining, it is always raining in the Norwegian port city, in a very unpleasant way, from all sides. This rainy weather is one of the most popular explanations of why so many Bergen artists have been successful for decades. You have time.
Sigrid, who led the BBC's renowned "Sound Of" newcomer-tip list in 2018, has a more logical approach: Bergen can now draw on an extremely efficient and internationally well-connected pop industry. One of the most important management companies of Scandinavia in the city sits with MADE, most recently she led the singer Aurora to quite remarkable success.
Listened to on the radio
Wednesdays at 23 o'clock there is the Hamburger Web-Radio ByteFM a listening-mixtape with many songs from the discussed records and highlights from the personal playlist of Andreas Borcholte.
What Sigrid does is, however, a whole lot more interesting, because it is not so easy to grasp. The 22-year-old moves through her music with a dazzling sovereignty for a debutante, glides loud and loud over a few individually dappled sounds from the half-acoustic ("In Vain"), builds fortresses elsewhere with strings and EDM-enriched pop ( "Do not Feel Like Crying"), but also roams R & B and indie pop.
Above all, it fills all this with content beyond the anecdote mentioned above: The "Do not Kill My Vibe", already published as a debut single in 2017, widely perceived as a hymn against sexist behavioral patterns, adds a kind of appendix with "Business Dinner", in the beats to be clicked is described very exactly what you have to listen to as a young artist: "You just want me to sweeter, better, angel, you just want me to be pictures, numbers, figures." You can not name it often enough. (8.1) Jochen Overbeck
sucker Punch [Explicit]
Universal Island Records Ltd.
rating: From "0" (absolute disaster) to "10" (absolute classic)