In this depressing post-Brexit era there’s a bit of a sting when talking about anything related to British Pride. We’ve consigned ourselves to life on a lonely island, a future with borders and an existence in a perpetual bubble.
British music, British culture and everything that exists between us and that great British Pride is now approached with a warranted sense of caution. Being British we’re led to believe is something almost holy, existing in a golden age, a time before the island was infected by some outsider species. Regardless of all the Xenophobic poison that frankly just makes for depressing headlines and an alarming rise in hate crimes, what we’re grasping at these days is straws, all to make sense of our place in this globalised world.
At every turn and taking every opportunity we can, we want to believe we can make it beyond the elites, the gatekeepers and stay global – despite being boxed in. But never forget we’re still worldwide, since we started living on the www (world wide web incase you need reminding) – it’s our reality whether you care to admit it or not. Even if you’re now taking a look into the ‘Black Mirror’ or still believing the smoke and mirrors around you – you’ve been worldwide for a while now.
When it comes to music though, yes it’s true there’s never been an easier route to being discovered, found out and spread across the worldwide web. For the ones who’ve been making moves they’ve figured out the road to going global and with their tactics brought in a new fervour of independent fever. Worldwide is worldwide no definition required – it’s streaming across daily lives, its feeding our timelines every second. Whether it’s down to sheer luck or honing your skill, the world has never been more easily accessible till now.
So yeah I don’t care for speculators on YouTube or Podcasts who are just itching to manufacture beef and take up my time so they can decipher Tweets with a Tweet by Tweet breakdown – I can bloody well use the www. We’re only 2 months away till we wrap up what’s been one pretty eventful year, and looking back on it, inevitably some ‘commentators’ may choose the path of selective reasoning. Regardless it’ll still be down to you with access to the worldwide web to weigh up perspectives against facts and decide if you’ll be calculating numbers or actually looking to see who’s done the real work this year. More importantly its your chance to find out who’s been noticing.
Celebrating success is relative to your own perspective to what success really means. Maybe it’s because we’ve started making more excuses than necessary about being British, that it’s got us living through something of an underdog crisis to top dog crisis. We can’t decide if we’re working class hero’s or wannabe cash kings.
While the write up’s and debates will ensue about the ‘Drizzy Effect’, you can decide if you’re content to enable the world to believe an artist comes from nowhere till they’re somewhere with Drake. Were you content to sit down and say Kanye single-handedly helped Grime after that performance at the Brits? A lot of online speculation and gossip, doesn’t change the facts about who has actually been putting in the work, making the difference and sharing a path with the ones on their way to worldwide recognition. If you haven’t followed Dave till now, followed his moves, listened to his lyrics and taken in his journey, it may be easy to take one single-handed effort as the only help he’s received on his path.
The freestyles helped me build the emotion and it helped me build a genuine connection with the people that were listening to the music – Dave
Whatever you think, don’t be so damn simplistic – if the worldwide webs been doing one thing it’s made us a little lazy with the facts. It’s never about a single-handed effort, regardless of whether you want to assume that success comes with the sweep of one hand. There’s always a series of small events that need to happen before you reach that tipping point. Dave may have just experienced that tipping point via Drake but I’ll refer to Malcolm Gladwell’s book to make my point clear – ‘it’s the small things that make a big difference’. You can’t discount those small things, those catalysts that connect everything together, even if some internet commentators are too lazy for fact checking. Those small things already started in the UK and they’re the multiple hands that contributed to the ‘where, how and why’ Drake found these ‘virtually unknown artists’ according to some commentators.
If you’re a struggling rapper, simplistic commentary won’t ease your path, struggle is a rite of passage, there’s no easy ride and if you think that somehow making it doesn’t involve taking your craft to the next level then you’re missing the point. Every day there’s a rapper on the come up trying to get noticed, get their records played on the radio, be heard worldwide – but it’s always the music that does the talking. Dave is articulate and clear about his path – “I’m here for every single aspect of the music, I’m here for the instrumentals, for the production, I’m here for the vocals, live acoustic sessions, I’m here to learn new instruments, I’m here to score soundtracks and do everything possible in the entire music world and not just rap.”
Dave isn’t just any ordinary rapper, he’s an exceptional rapper point blank and he’s been recognised by people who have all contributed with those small things along his journey. Those are still the small things that enabled Dave to take a bigger risk, choose a path and drop going to university. Dave can level the game across the channel, but it’s too early to consign Dave’s efforts over one single year, to one single-handed move by a global superstar.
Whether we like it or not, the ultimate measure of any true success will still be consistently weighted against chart success, and you’ll eventually be talking numbers like calculators. Counting followers, likes, retweets, purchases, downloads, views, and data, data, data, data till it’s the proof you use to show the power of ‘influence’. But in the end the fans are the ultimate influencers, Drake may command the top of every chart, but don’t forget he hasn’t single-handedly been able to ‘help’ any of his own Canadian compatriots to chart domination worldwide. At the end of the day they may be from the 6, but they’re still waiting to get to 100. Influence won’t add up till you earn your own staying power.
There’s a lot of pressure, can’t let the pressure get to you, gotta remember why you do it – Dave
Whether you’ve been blasting ‘Wanna Know’ or living under a tin-foil tent and now showing some ‘Fake Love’ for Dave after Drake, you can’t deny who’s shared Dave’s path. If you wanna know facts only, listen to ‘Six Paths EP’, take in Take 4 of ’71/*End Credits*’;
While some are making a real difference, others will just talk the talk to stack their own clicks. It may feel insecure to think you’re living in this new Brexit bubble, but that doesn’t stop some of us from fact checking and having faith. Regardless the work hasn’t concluded till the real work is done and there’s still a lot of work to be done – as Dave says “I’m trying, it’s difficult, but I hope I do get there.”