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Dave (rapper) facts for kids

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Santan Dave (cropped) 2.jpg
Dave performing in 2019
Background information
Birth name David Orobosa Michael Omoregie
Also known as
  • Santan Dave
  • Santan
Born (1998-06-05) 5 June 1998 (age 25)
Brixton, London, England
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • actor
Years active 2015–present
  • Neighbourhood
  • UMG
Associated acts

David Orobosa Michael Omoregie (born 5 June 1998), also known as Santan Dave, or professional name Dave, is a British rapper. He is known for his socially conscious lyricism and wordplay.

Dave released his debut extended play Six Paths in 2016, after the release of several successful singles including the grime song "Thiago Silva" with AJ Tracey. In the same year, Canadian rapper Drake premiered a remix single of Dave's song "Wanna Know" featuring himself on OVO Sound Radio. Dave released his second EP Game Over in 2017. In 2018, his political song "Question Time", which directed criticism towards the British Government, won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song. In the same year, he released "Funky Friday", featuring Fredo, which became his first number-one song on the UK Singles Chart and his first platinum certified release.

Dave's debut album Psychodrama (2019) was met with widespread critical acclaim and debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart, having the biggest first-week streams for a UK rap album. It went on to win the Mercury Prize, and Album of the Year at the 2020 Brit Awards. He made his acting debut in the third season of the Netflix series Top Boy, which was released in September 2019. In July 2021, Dave released his second album We're All Alone in This Together which was a critical success and his second UK number-one album. He released the single "Starlight" on 3 March 2022, which became his first solo UK number-one single. In June 2023, Dave achieved his third and his longest-running number-one single in "Sprinter" with Central Cee, which was the lead single to their collaborative EP Split Decision.

Early life

David Orobosa Omoregie was born on 5 June 1998 in the Brixton area of South London, His father, Frank Omoregie, is a pastor and his mother, Juliet Doris Omoregie, a nurse. He has two older brothers, Benjamin and Christopher, who are eight and five years older than him, respectively. Dave's father was deported to Nigeria when Dave was just a few months old due to visa issues; he had believed he was travelling on a missionary visa but was actually on a visitor's visa. Dave's mother fled with his brothers in fear of being deported, and was not reunited with Dave until three months later. The family was then left homeless for a period and lived on South London's buses.

Dave moved to Streatham, South London, from nearby Brixton at the age of seven. He began composing music at an early age; he started writing lyrics at 11 after watching his older brother practise rapping at home and he taught himself piano after receiving an electric keyboard from his mother for Christmas when he was 14. Both of Dave's older brothers were in prison throughout his teenage years. When Dave was 11, his brother Christopher was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 18 years, under the law of joint enterprise, for his involvement in the March 2010 gang murder of 15-year-old Sofyen Belamouadden at London Victoria station. Then in 2014, when Dave was 15, his other brother Benjamin went to prison for four years for robbery; he was released in 2018.

Dave attended St Mark's Academy in Mitcham, and Richmond upon Thames College in Twickenham, where he studied law, philosophy and ethics, while also completing an additional module in sound design and politics. He secured a place at De Montfort University in Leicester to study law but never attended, choosing instead to focus on his musical career. Dave is also an avid supporter of Manchester United F.C.

Music career

2015–2016: Career beginnings and Six Paths

In May 2015, Dave's career began when he appeared on BL@CKBOX, a YouTube channel that promotes upcoming artists, with a freestyle. Later in July, he dropped a single with just audio on Mixtape Madness called "Mid Summer Night". He then progressed, releasing a freestyle entitled ‘Karma’ on the channel PacmanTV in August and a freestyle on Street Starz TV, a YouTube channel for freestyle, in September. Dave performed his first SB.TV Warm Up Session in November and then he released his first track "JKYL+HYD" on the platform in January 2016. In March he made his debut performance on Charlie Sloth's "Fire in the Booth", a freestyle segment on BBC Radio 1Xtra. Later that month, Dave performed his first live show with a support slot for Kano at London's Troxy.

Dave featured on the remix of fellow British rapper AJ Tracey's track "Spirit Bomb" in February 2016. Following this, the pair released the track "Thiago Silva" on 13 May 2016. The song showcased Dave's versatility by showing Dave's ability on a grime track. The song has since been ranked number 10 on Complex magazine's list of "Grime's Most Impactful Songs of the 2010s". Dave's festival debut was at Bestival in August 2016, performing the track alongside AJ Tracey on the Eskimo Dance stage. He performed as part of the Red Bull Music Academy UK tour in October 2016.

After releasing a range of non-album singles through 2016, Dave released his debut EP, Six Paths, on 30 September 2016, which included the tracks "Picture Me", "Panic Attack", and "Wanna Know". The extended play was produced by Dave, Fraser T Smith, and 169, and entered at number 76 on the UK Albums Chart. Dave performed a Maida Vale session for BBC Radio 1, playing his track "Picture Me" live on piano, after his EP release. Dave also performed his first ever headline show in Camden Assembly.

In October 2016, Drake premiered a remix to Dave's song "Wanna Know" on OVO Sound Radio, which also featured Drake and was released as a single. The song debuted at 72 on the Official Singles Chart and peaked at 51, becoming Dave's first entry on the chart.

2017–2018: Game Over and Singles

Throughout 2017, Dave released a series of non-album singles. The track "Samantha" with J Hus peaked at 63 on the Official Singles Chart, becoming the third biggest song to not chart in the top 40 in 2017, Dave also released the tracks "Revenge", "Tequila", and "100M's", the latter of which featured on Nike's Born Mercurial advert in 2018. Dave made his television debut in May on BBC's Later... with Jools Holland where he performed his song ‘Picture Me’ alongside playing the piano.

Dave toured throughout the first half of the year performing a few sold-out headline shows in the UK including two nights at O2 Academy Islington and making his first appearances at festivals such as Wireless and Reading and Leeds Festival. He also toured North America for the first time on a joint tour with AJ Tracey.

On 9 October 2017, Dave announced his second extended play, Game Over. The EP was preceded by the track "Question Time". During the song Dave hosts his own "Question Time" posing pointed questions directly at the Prime Minister at that time, Theresa May, the former PM, David Cameron, and the then leader of the Labour Party in 2017, Jeremy Corbyn. The EP Game Over was released on 3 November 2017 independently for streaming and digital download alongside the single "No Words". Game Over debuted at number 13 on the UK Albums Chart and 'No Words' debuted at 18 before eventually peaking at 17 on 11 January 2018. Following the release of the EP Dave toured a sold-out tour in the UK and Australia, the latter of which he was touring for the first time.

Dave won his first MOBO Award for the Best Newcomer Act at the 2017 ceremony on 29 November 2017. He received his first Brit Award nomination for British Breakthrough Act at the 2018 Brit Awards which he lost out to Dua Lipa. Dave also became the youngest ever winner of an Ivor Novello Award at the age of 19, winning Best Contemporary Song for his politically charged track "Question Time" at the 2018 Awards.

Dave put out his first single after the release of his Game Over EP with the track "Hangman" on 27 February 2018. In the autumn Dave embarked on his first ever tour of Europe. After a seven-month hiatus, Dave released the self-produced track "Funky Friday", featuring rapper Fredo, on 4 October 2018. The song debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart, being only the third song to do so in 2018. It became the first song by a British rapper to peak at number one on the UK Singles Chart as a lead artist since 2015. This feat also meant that Dave secured his first ever number one single, as well as his first Top 10 single.

2019–2020: Psychodrama

In January 2019, Dave collaborated with UK rapper Headie One, featuring on the track "18Hunna" which charted at number 6 on the UK Singles Chart. Dave also collaborated again with Fredo, featuring on his track "All I Ever Wanted" off of Fredo's album Third Avenue.

Dave announced his long-anticipated debut album Psychodrama on 21 February 2019. Alongside the announcement he released the lead single "Black", which discusses what it means to be black in its complexities; his pride and celebration of being black alongside the challenges that black people face. The video for the song included many prominent black British figures with Damson Idris, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, Dina Asher-Smith, Ozwald Boateng, Raheem Sterling, Stormzy, Micheal Ward and Tiffany Calver all appearing.

His debut album Psychodrama was released on 8 March 2019. The album debuted at number one in the UK, selling 26,390 copies in its first week, with 79% of its total generated by 26.3 million streams. This gave it the biggest first-week streams for a British rap album, eclipsing Stormzy's Gang Signs & Prayer. Elsewhere, the songs "Disaster", "Streatham", and "Location" debuted at 8, 9, and 11, respectively on the UK Singles Chart. Psychodrama is currently one of the top 100 highest-rated hip-hop albums on Metacritic.

In April 2019, "Paper Cuts" which was described as drill style, was previewed on Instagram.

The tracks "Disaster", featuring J Hus, and "Location", featuring Burna Boy, both produced by Jae5, alongside Fraser T. Smith and Dave, were officially released as singles off the album in July 2019. Both tracks went platinum with "Location" becoming one of Dave's biggest tracks to date, having been BPI certified 4× platinum with 1,800,000 units sold by October 2021.

Following the release of the album, Dave embarked on his first UK headline tour since 2017, which included two nights at Brixton Academy. He also went on to tour Australia, Europe, and North America.

On 30 June 2019, Dave made his Glastonbury Festival debut. During the performance he brought a fan onstage to perform his song "Thiago Silva" alongside him, which the video of subsequently went viral. Following this the track entered the UK Singles Chart at number 57 and reached a peak of number 36. Dave also performed for the first time at Reading and Leeds Festival headlining the BBC Radio 1 Stage.

Dave made his acting debut in Netflix's revival and third series of Top Boy, playing the character Modie. He released two tracks, "Professor X" and "God's Eye", for the soundtrack, which were both self-produced.

On 19 September 2019, Dave won the 2019 Mercury Prize for his debut album Psychodrama. Dave also won British Album of the Year at the 2020 Brit Awards. This made him only the second artist ever to win both of these awards for the same album. Dave's performance of the track "Black" at the Brit Awards led to controversy, after he called the then UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson a "real racist" and called out the government over their treatment of the victims of Grenfell Tower and the Windrush generation. The track won Dave another Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song at the 2020 awards. He also won the GQ Men Of The Year Vero Breakthrough Music Act Award at 2019 GQ Men of the Year Awards.

In August 2020, Dave collaborated with Sir David Attenborough for a special episode of Planet Earth entitled Planet Earth: A Celebration, with Dave playing the piano alongside famous composer Hans Zimmer. In October 2020, Dave collaborated with Fraser T. Smith in the production of Smith's debut album, 12 Questions.

2021–2022: We're All Alone in This Together

In January 2021, Dave worked again with frequent collaborator Fredo. Dave featured on and produced, Fredo's track "Money Talks" which debuted at number 3 on the UK Singles Chart. The song was a single off Fredo's album Money Can't Buy Happiness which Dave executively produced under the name SANTAN.

In April 2021, Dave released two songs as a two-track EP, "Titanium", and "Mercury", featuring Kamal, labelled as leftovers from his second album. Two months later, Dave announced his sophomore album, We're All Alone in This Together, alongside its cover art and release date. On 9 July the lead single, "Clash" featuring Stormzy, was released, which peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart. The music video features Dave and Stormzy surrounded by cars at the Aston Martin factory in Warwickshire and driving round the Silverstone Circuit. This came after Dave had collaborated with Aston Martin in March 2021, for the launch of their AMR21 Formula 1 car.

On 23 July 2021, Dave released his second album, We're All Alone in This Together. It debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart, becoming Dave's second consecutive number one album. It was also Dave's first number-one album on the Scottish Albums Chart and the Irish Albums Chart. We're All Alone in This Together sold 74,000 album-equivalent units in its first week, with 43.9% of its total coming from the 38.5 million streams across the 12 tracks, a new record in terms of weekly album streams for a UK rap act. On the UK Singles Chart the tracks "Clash", "Verdansk", and "In the Fire" reached number 2, 4, and 6, respectively. UK chart rules prevent artists from having more than three songs in the top 40 at once, otherwise data showed that all 12 album tracks would have entered the Top 20. These first week sales broke multiple records, making it the biggest opening week of an album in the UK since November 2019 with Coldplay's album Everyday Life and the biggest first week sales for a UK hip hop/rap album in the last decade, since Tinie Tempah's debut Disc-Overy in October 2010. The album returned to number one on 13 August 2021, three weeks after its release. After the release, Dave headlined his first festival at Parklife on 11 September.

In August 2021, Dave won his third Ivor Novello Award alongside Fraser T Smith in the Best Contemporary Song category for the track "Children of the Internet". Dave continued to produce for other artists, producing the track "End of the Beginning" on Central Cee's mixtape 23, again under the name SANTAN, which was released in February 2022.

Dave was nominated for four awards at the 2022 Brit Awards, including best album, best artist and best song. He won the award for Best British Hip Hop/Rap/Grime Act. He performed his track "In the Fire" at the ceremony, bringing onstage the track's featured guests – Fredo, Meekz, Ghetts and Giggs – and performing a solo on the guitar, which he had only been learning for four months prior.

He embarked on his first sold-out UK arena tour in early 2022, which included two shows at the O2 arena. Dave then carried on his tour to Europe and North America. In March 2022, he released his first single of the year, "Starlight". It debuted at number one on the UK Singles chart as the biggest single debut of the year, making it Dave's second chart-topping single and his 11th top 10 single. The song broke a number of records. It became the first UK number one of the 2020s to be entirely written and performed by one person and the first number one to be written and produced by just one person since 2014. It also became the longest-running number one solo UK Rap single in Official Charts history.

Dave won Songwriter of the Year at the 67th Ivor Novello Awards in May, making that his fourth Ivor Novello win in five years.

Dave performed at a number of festivals over the summer including headlining Wireless Festival, Longitude Festival, Rolling Loud Toronto and becoming the youngest ever solo headliner of Reading and Leeds Festival.

2023–present: Split Decision

In June 2023, Dave released the single "Sprinter" with Central Cee. The track debuted with 108,200 chart units in its first tracking week alongside 13.4 million streams, the greatest week of streams for a rap single in UK history, as well as the most-streamed UK hip-hop song in a single day. The track reached number one on the UK singles charts, making it Dave’s third number one single after "Funky Friday" and "Starlight", as well as Central Cee’s first number one single. "Sprinter" was later followed by the collaborative EP, Split Decision, a few days later.


Dave made his modelling debut for Pharrell Williams' Louis Vuitton debut as the newly appointed men's creative director at the 2023 Paris Fashion Week.

Musical style

Alongside rapping, Dave also produces, plays piano, and plays guitar.

Streatham, South London-born rapper Dave (aka Santan Dave) may only have been 16 when he entered the rap spotlight, but his conscious lyrical style made him sound well beyond his years [...] his brothers would end up serving lengthy prison sentences. To cope with the drastic alteration to their lives, Dave burrowed even deeper into his music, causing him to develop a socially aware form of wordplay that set him apart from his peers. — AllMusic writer Liam Martin


On September 6, 2020, Dave appeared as a celebrity at Soccer Aid for the Soccer Aid World XI in a charity football match to raise money for GAVI.

Following the start of the 2023 Israel–Hamas war in October 2023, the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the continued War in Sudan, Dave had taken to social media to promote the sale of his clothing brand, "Psycho" to raise almost £500,000 to donate to Palestine, Congo, and Sudan. Alongside raising money for the conflicts around the world, Dave released a track titled, "Peace Dream" in which he raps about the conflicts while pointing out hypocrisy in the government. Upon the release of "Peace Dream", Dave had taken to Twitter to speak on the conflict.

We raised close to £500,000 factoring everything in last Sunday for the charities in Palestine Congo and Sudan. Massive love to all. Thanks for playing a part and allowing me to play my part also. Will keep you updated on the journey the donations take to those in need.


Studio albums

  • Psychodrama (2019)
  • We're All Alone in This Together (2021)


  • Six Paths (2016)
  • Game Over (2017)
  • Split Decision (2023)


Year Title Role Notes
2019 Top Boy Modie Series 3

Awards and nominations

Year Organization Award Work Result Reference
2016 Rated Awards Best Breakthrough Himself Nominated
2017 Best Track "Samantha"
Mixtape of the Year Six Paths
AIM Awards Independent Track of the Year "Wanna Know"
Most Played New Independent Act Himself
Independent Breakthrough of the Year
MOBO Awards Best Newcomer Won
2018 Brit Awards British Breakthrough Act Nominated
NME Awards Best Mixtape Game Over
Ivor Novello Awards Best Contemporary Song "Question Time" Won
AIM Awards Independent Track of the Year Nominated
Most Played New Independent Act Himself Won
Rated Awards Artist of the Year Nominated
Track of the Year "No Words"
Mixtape of the Year Game Over
2019 GQ Men of the Year Awards Breakthrough Music Act Himself Won
Q Awards Best Solo Act Nominated
Best Album Psychodrama
MTV Europe Music Awards Best UK & Ireland Act Himself
UK Music Video Awards Best Urban Video - UK "Black"
Best Artist Himself
BET Awards Best International Act
Mercury Prize Best Album Psychodrama Won
AIM Awards Best Independent Album
Best Independent Track "Funky Friday"
2020 Brit Awards Album of the Year Psychodrama Won
Song of the Year "Location" Nominated
British Male Solo Artist Himself
Best New Artist
2021 MOBO Awards Album of the Year We're All Alone in This Together Won
Best Male Act Himself Nominated
Best Hip-Hop Act
Song of the Year "Clash"
Video of the Year "Money Talks"
2022 Brit Awards Album of the Year We're All Alone in This Together
Song of the Year "Clash"
Artist of the Year Himself
Best Hip Hop/Grime/Rap Act Won
2023 Brit Awards Nominated
Song of the Year "Starlight"
MTV Europe Music Awards Best Collaboration "Sprinter" (with Central Cee) Nominated
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