When you sell out your first headline show in under 24 hours, drop one of the tunes of the year with one of your best friends, and have Drake drop some vocals on your songyou know the stars are aligning for you.  This is exactly what has happened to South London rapper Dave, who is coming off the back of a tremendous 2016. The 18-year-old from Streatham is the UK rap scene’s latest hope, dropping deeply intense, personal and introspective lyricism to project a life that has seen its fair share of adversity. In a realm where trap and turn-up rap is the norm, Dave goes against the grain and brings musicality and heart to his every move.

Last September’s brilliant Six Paths EP was honestly a breath of fresh air, with Dave providing a steady balance between melodic rap and live instrumentation (he played piano throughout the project). Prior to that release, Dave and AJ Tracey offered up a grime masterclass in “Thiago Silva”, bridging the gap between the scene’s old, gritty style and the abundance of talent within the new generation and showcasing a versatility to his artistry.  The icing on the cake came in November, though, when Drake took it upon himself to lace Dave’s “Wanna Know” with a couple of verses of his own. In what is most definitely a rookie year, hes notched up a number of achievements that most rappers and musicians aspire to.

Dave has a wisdom beyond his 18 years, which shows in his music and personality. And while he's super grateful for the journey so far, he understands that it’s only the beginning and that he’s just a few steps away from levelling up even more. Complex caught up with the rising star recently, at Foot Locker's #ItStartsHere event in Shoreditch, London, where he chronicled his musical journey, detailed which of his songs he is most proud of, and which pair of trainers he hates the most.

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