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Santan Dave
& His Lyrical Genius


Who is Santan Dave (also known as Dave) ? 

David Orobosa Omoregie is a twenty-five year old UK rapper (and actor) originally from Nigeria. He is very well known for his music and the wordplay/ lyricism he uses in it.  In this article I hope to explore his art and showcase (to people who might not be aware) that he is not just any other rapper, he is a poet of magnificent proportions. 

Like most rappers Dave rhymes off amazing beats making his audience dance, sing along and memorize his lyrics. However, that is not the only thing he does. Dave also has songs in which he is emotional and uses exquisite rhymes, lyricism and wordplay, especially in his album “Psychodrama” (The album that we will be using in today’s analysis), where certain songs have strong and insightful messages. Such as the song “Lesly”, the song that we will be focusing on in this article.  Lesly was released in 2019 with Ruelle as a featured singer. “Lesly” is an eleven minute song that is not really a song but poetry on a beat (according to my sister).  Either way it depicts not only Dave’s emotional side and his lyrical and rhythmic genius, but also his amazing story telling techniques. The song starts off with him telling us how he- through the strange ways of the universe- met a girl named Lesly on the train and one day they ended up speaking. Through profuse rhymes and story telling Dave explains to us what Lesly was going through.  “She used to be the life of the party for true. And now she going out hardly ever. Her man got her in the yard forever” is the start to Lesly’s story. We are- in three verses- introduced to her past self (“She used to be the life of the party for true”), her current self (“And now she going out hardly ever”) and her abusive boyfriend (“Her man got her in the yard forever”). The chorus of the song is "I don't know myself, I don’t know myself no more”, which Dave strategically places after every one of Lesley’s confessions. Like he does after the first three verses I just shared. Through that he is portraying to us that Lesly is lost. 


Dave continues to tell us about Lesly’s abusive boyfriend and he introduces a new character into his story, Hannah. “Her friend Hannah had a man that was manipulative, So, she could see it from a mile off, Turtleneck jumpers, makeup around the eye spots”. Even while telling an emotionally compelling story Dave still manages to rhyme (and do so beautifully) the entire time, “Mile off- eye spots”.  


As he continues to tell us more about Lesly’s boyfriend he does so with verses that use Eminem style rapping more formally known as multisyllabic rhyming. According to google: “Eminem employs a more advanced rhyming scheme in the majority of his songs known as multisyllabic rhyming. This means that multiple parts of each word or multiple syllables within a word rhyme. When writing down your rhymes, break down larger words into parts and try to rhyme each corresponding part with another word”. For example in Eminem’s song “Rap God” he rhymed orange with syringe, these are not words that rhyme initially but with a little bit of tweaking they can be made to rhyme and still sound right. Dave applies the same principle as he tells us about Lesly’s boyfriend. “Her boyfriend, he was a mystery man. I didn't know much about him, but he's been in the can. Name's Jason, he's a bad boy with no reasoning. To be honest, I don't know what Les' sees in him”. Dave here has managed to rhyme reasoning with sees in him through the manipulation of syllables (with help from his British accent). Speaking of syllables, Dave manages to not only manipulate them but line them up with his story to execute back to back rhymes and do so with ease. For example he uses this technique to tell us about Lesly’s pregnancy and how big of a toll that and her poverty has taken on her. “Les' saying, ‘I got nothing to live for. It's been raw, but David, I ain't never been this poor. There's no income, my boyfriend left me. So how the f*** am I going to survive when this kid's born?’. I said, ‘It's a blessing as mad as it is. And Les', I never even knew you were having a kid’. Bro, she's four months pregnant, young and neglected. Single but I don't think she wants to accept it. So she's still texting ex's trying to get this. Back on track but I don't think that she gets it. It's emotional obsession, clinical depression. Life is a lesson”.  


Enough about his fabulous lyricism, let’s talk about his storytelling. So far Dave has managed to tell us a story, verse by verse, through rap. He has introduced us to a pregnant girl named Lesly who is living in poverty. She has an abusive boyfriend and a best friend named Hannah who is trying to get her to leave the abusive boyfriend. Dave carries on to tell us how Lesly has changed her perspective on life and plans to bring this baby to a world of joy, we are also told how Lesly would like to tell Hannah about the baby and everything else going on in her life. However Hannah was not too pleased to hear this news. She was convinced that Lesly was making the wrong decision by being a single mother, what she didn’t know was that Lesley was actually back with Jason (the abusive boyfriend). So Lesly leaves Hannah a voice message hoping to clear everything up: “Yo Hannah, it's Les' can you call me back? I wanna talk about the baby, you, me, Jason, all of that. I've been feeling like I need to get my aura back. I used to be so f***ing confident. But these days, I swear that-". I don't know myself, I don't know myself no more”.  As we continue with the story Dave using a mix of eminem style rapping and manipulation of syllables to tell us about how Lesly went home at 3:30 PM one day, even though she was supposed to go to a scan, because she wanted to talk to Jason and tell him about the baby. However when Lesly gets home she sees a pair of shoes that aren’t hers or Jason’s. She starts to walk up the stairs making lots of noise, she begins to hear Jason whisper to someone to hide inside the closet. Lesly walks in just in time to catch Jason but not who he was with. She cries out asking Jason what kind of man would cheat on his pregnant girlfriend. Jason is in shock and not in a happy way.  Les runs for the closet but Jason catches her before she can open the door. We are then told how Lesly responds to Jason’s not so kind words. “‘I don't wanna love. I don't want a you and I, I don't want an us. And also, I don't wanna talk loads. One more line before I dash like Morse code’. ‘Open the wardrobe’. And Jason's on the edge. ‘I just wanna see if she was prettier than me, slimmer than me. Maybe your baby's similar to me. Maybe you wanted someone thicker than me, fitter than me. To satisfy you quicker than me. I got your baby in my stomach and you did this to me. What did I ever do to you for you to finish with me? I didn't believe my girls but they were thinking of me. And give it to me, the wardrobe, give me the key’  Dave uses identical rhyming (rhyming me with me)  and amazing wordplay (“one more line before I dash like morse code”) to portray to us what is going on with Lesly and her mind at the moment.  Jason refuses to give up easily and starts to fight Lesly physically even though he clearly has the upper hand. Les tries to fight back but she is just not strong enough. She manages to lock him out of the room before people of the apartment complex start to hear the commotion and call the cops. Jason is gone by the time the police arrive. They search the premises as Lesly is sitting on the bed trying to get herself together and explain to them what conspired. They see that she is in clear pain and they call an ambulance. The police don’t find anything during their search except a phone in the closet that must have been left in a rush. They begin to search the phone only to find a bunch of missed calls from Jason and one voicemail. They play the voicemail : “Yo Hannah, it's Les' can you call me back? I wanna talk about the baby, you, me, Jason, all of that. I've been feeling like I need to get my aura back. I used to be so f***ing confident. But these days, I swear that-". I don't know myself, I don't know myself no more”.  Lesly was in such shock, such pain, she could not understand what was going on, her own best friend ? She is then escorted to the hospital and Dave visits. He explains to us the sight he saw, a strong young woman completely broken, physically and emotionally. He was told by the nurses and doctors that the only reason she was holding on was because of her baby. This is the point where Lesly’s story ends but not Daves telling of it. He uses the remnants of his beat to warn women to seek help if they are dealing with abusive men. He even relates back to how the story started by mentioning the train that he and Lesly met on. “You see this time that I'm taking out to tell you the story is more than a song or track. It's a message to a woman with a toxic man. I'm begging you to get support if you're lost or trapped. I understand that I can never understand. And I ain't saying that it's easy but it must be right. Some of your sisters, aunties, mums or wives. Are f***ed aside and they will never touch on why. I'm touched 'cause I've seen women that I love though like-Cry little red tears through a bloodshot eye. This s***'s awful, no matter what culture it ain't normal. Men try and twist it, make it seem like it's your fault. In that train full of people that you're taking. How many Lesley's are running from their Jason’s?”. 

You have to be a special kind of writer to be able to not only tell an amazing story, give awareness to an issue that is not talked about enough and do so while employing different rhyming, rapping and poetry techniques. 

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