Psychodrama (album)

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Dave Psychodrama.jpeg
Studio album by
Released8 March 2019
  • Neighbourhood Recordings
Dave chronology
Game Over
Singles from Psychodrama
  1. "Black"
    Released: 21 February 2019
  2. "Streatham"
    Released: 7 March 2019

Psychodrama (stylized in all caps) is the debut studio album by English rapper Dave, released on 8 March 2019. It follows the critical acclaim and commercial success of his first two EPs, Six Paths (2016) and Game Over (2017). It was supported by two singles, "Black", released on 21 February 2019[1][2] and "Streatham", released on 7 March 2019,[3][4] and features guest appearances from J Hus, Burna Boy and Ruelle.[5]

The concept album follows the narrative of a therapy session, detailing Dave's struggles with mental health, particularly depression, strained relationships, and issues such as domestic abuse and racial inequality.[5][6][7][8][9]

Psychodrama debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart and received widespread acclaim from critics.


In a 2017 interview with NME, Dave revealed he was working on his debut album slated for a 2018 release, stating: "I know exactly how I’m going to make it and what I need it to be, I just need to find the time."[10] The album was officially announced on 21 February 2019 following the release of his single "Black'" to YouTube.[1][2] An accompanying tour was announced days later, and the tracklist was revealed on 3 March, showing features from Burna Boy, Ruelle, and the then-incarcerated J Hus.[11][12] Coinciding with the album's release, Dave released another single, "Streatham" on 7 March, via a music video.[3][4]


Psychodrama has been referred to as a "concept album", and has a three-act structure; act one is defined as "environment", act two "relationships", and act three "social compass".[7] The album addresses a number of issues, particularly focusing on Dave's struggles with mental health, namely depression.[9] The first track begins with Dave talking to a therapist, a constant throughout the album. Other themes include Dave's strained relationships, poor upbringing, his father's absence and the impact it had on him, and issues such as domestic abuse and racial inequality.[5][8][6] Dave has said much of the inspiration for the album came from his older brother, Christopher, who is serving life in prison. The themes of psychotherapy came from the same type of therapy his brother receives in prison.[7]

The 11-minute song "Lesley" details the story of a woman going through an abusive relationship; Dave describes the song as "a story about someone suffering a complete loss of character by being with someone that isn’t good for them."[7][5]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
Complex5/5 stars[15]
Evening Standard4/5 stars[16]
The Guardian5/5 stars[17]
The Independent5/5 stars[18]
The Line of Best Fit9.5/10[19]
NME5/5 stars[20]
The Observer4/5 stars[21]
Q4/5 stars[23]
The Times4/5 stars[24]

Psychodrama received universal acclaim from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 89, based on 9 reviews.[14]

Alexis Petridis of The Guardian acclaimed Psychodrama with a perfect score, calling it "the boldest and best British rap album in a generation." Petridis described Dave's lyrics as "smart, thoughtful, unflinching and self-aware", adding that it "says something about how incisive Dave is as a writer that the album lasts for the best part of an hour, and not a minute of its running time seems wasted or padded out."[17] The Independent labelled Psychodrama as "the most thoughtful, moving and necessary albums of 2019 so far", complimenting the album concept and lyrical content: "Tracks are at once astute and deeply personal in how they capture vignettes of everyday life and spin them into important lessons."[18]

Sam Higgins of The Line of Best Fit lauded Psychodrama as "a record that’s suffocatingly intense", concluding: "Psychodrama isn’t an album to stand up and rejoice to. It’s a sit-down-and-consume, a listen-and-learn. In doing that, you appreciate the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into the prose. It’s an overwhelmingly powerful 51 minutes of music unlike anything released this year. We’re truly in the presence of someone leading a remarkable generation of UK rap and I have no doubt we’ll look back at Psychodrama as a seminal piece of art in this movement."[19] Carl Anka of NME also awarded the album a perfect score, calling it a "masterpiece", "bold and thought-provoking", and "the kind of record that comes along only rarely."[20] For Complex, Natty Kasambala wrote that "For a record tackling such heavy subject matter, it's still shockingly listenable and by constantly moving through different paces it holds your interest", praising the album's lyrics, production and Dave's flow.[15]

Commercial performance[edit]

Predicted to chart at number five midweek, Psychodrama debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart, selling a combined 26,390 album-equivalent units. The album became the most-streamed first-week British rap album in the UK with a total of 23.6 million streams.[25] It is also the first British rap album to chart at number one since Gang Signs & Prayer by Stormzy, released in 2017.

Following the release of Psychodrama, Dave landed the three highest charting new entries on the UK Singles Chart for the week of March 15, with album tracks "Disaster", "Streatham" and "Location", debuting at numbers 8, 9 and 11, respectively.[26]

Track listing[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[27]

  • David Omoregie
  • Kyle Evans
  • Maggie Eckford
  • Josh Williams
  • Alexi von Guggenburg
  • Omoregie
  • Nana Rogues
  • Rogues
  • Smith
  • Omoregie
  • Omoregie
  • Smith
  • Smith
  • Omoregie
4."Purple Heart"
  • Smith
  • Omoregie
  • Evans
5."Location" (featuring Burna Boy)
  • Smith
  • Jae5
  • Omoregie[a]
6."Disaster" (featuring J Hus)
  • Smith
  • Omoregie
  • TSB[b]
7."Screwface Capital"
  • Omoregie
  • Smith
  • Tyrell Paul
  • Setlam Woldehaimanot
  • Smith
  • Omoregie
  • 169
  • Omoregie
  • Smith
  • Smith
  • Omoregie
9."Lesley" (featuring Ruelle)
  • Omoregie
  • Smith
  • Eckford
  • James Napier
  • Smith
  • Omoregie
  • Omoregie
  • Smith
  • McCulloch Sutphin
  • Keith Askey
  • Jacob Reske
  • Omoregie
  • 1Mind
  • Smith[a]
  • Omoregie
  • Eckford
  • Williams
  • von Guggenburg
  • Smith
  • Omoregie
Total length:51:00


  • ^[a] signifies an additional producer
  • ^[b] signifies music production

Sample credits


Credits adapted from Tidal.[27]


Chart (2019) Peak
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[28] 169
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[29] 26
Irish Albums (IRMA)[30] 6
Scottish Albums (OCC)[31] 19
UK Albums (OCC)[32] 1
UK R&B Albums (OCC)[33] 1


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[34] Silver 60,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b "SANTAN on Instagram: "Black, the first release from my debut album Psychodrama, is out now. Pre-order Psychodrama at"". Instagram. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b Santan Dave (21 February 2019). "Dave - Black". Retrieved 8 March 2019 – via YouTube.
  3. ^ a b "SANTAN on Instagram: "Streatham. Tomorrow 7pm"". Instagram. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b Santan Dave (7 March 2019). "Dave - Streatham". Retrieved 8 March 2019 – via YouTube.
  5. ^ a b c d "Psychodrama by Dave". Genius. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  6. ^ a b Petridis, Alexis (8 March 2019). "Dave: Psychodrama review – the boldest and best British rap album in a generation - Alexis Petridis's album of the week". Retrieved 8 March 2019 – via
  7. ^ a b c d Sawyer, Miranda (3 March 2019). "Dave: 'Black is confusing… where does the line start and stop?'". Retrieved 8 March 2019 – via
  8. ^ a b Pometsey, Olive. "Dave's Pyschodrama is the rap album that Britain needs". British GQ. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  9. ^ a b Hunt, El (8 March 2019). "The biggest talking points from Dave's 'Psychodrama'". NME. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  10. ^ Alex Flood (10 November 2017). "Dave: the genre-splicing rapper talks meeting Drake and his debut album". NME. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  11. ^ "SANTAN on Instagram: "PSYCHODRAMA. My debut album. March 8th."". Instagram. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  12. ^ "SANTAN on Instagram: "PSYCHODRAMA THE TOUR. Tickets on sale Thursday at 9am."". Instagram. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  13. ^ "Psychodrama by Dave reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  14. ^ a b "Psychodrama by Dave Reviews and Tracks". Metacritic. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  15. ^ a b Kasambala, Natty (11 March 2019). "Review: Dave's 'Psychodrama' Is A Brutally Impressive Examination Of Society". Complex. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  16. ^ Paine, Andre (8 March 2019). "Dave – Psychodrama (Neighbourhood)". Evening Standard. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  17. ^ a b Petridis, Alexis (8 March 2019). "Dave: Psychodrama review – the boldest and best British rap album in a generation". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  18. ^ a b O'Connor, Roisin; Bray, Elisa (8 March 2019). "Album reviews: Dave – Psychodrama, and Dido – Still on My Mind". The Independent. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  19. ^ a b Higgins, Sam (9 March 2019). "Dave's PSYCHODRAMA may be the definitive British rap album of 2019". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  20. ^ a b Anka, Carl (11 March 2019). "Dave – 'Psychodrama' review". NME. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  21. ^ Hancox, Dan (10 March 2019). "Dave: Psychodrama review – debut long-player doesn't disappoint". The Observer. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  22. ^ Thapar, Ciaran (15 March 2019). "Dave: Psychodrama". Pitchfork. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  23. ^ Howe, Rupert (June 2019). "Dave: Psychodrama". Q (398): 108.
  24. ^ Hodgkinson, Will (15 March 2019). "Dave: Psychodrama review". The Times. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  25. ^ "Dave's Psychodrama debuts at Number 1 in incredibly close Official Albums Chart battle against Foals". Official Charts. 15 March 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  26. ^ "Lewis Capaldi claims third week at Number 1". Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  27. ^ a b "PSYCHODRAMA / Dave". Tidal. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  28. ^ " – Dave – Psychodrama" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  29. ^ " – Dave – Psychodrama" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  30. ^ "Irish Albums Chart: 15 March 2019". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  31. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  32. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  33. ^ "Official R&B Albums Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  34. ^ "British album certifications – Dave – Psychodrama". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Psychodrama in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.