In many ways, last night was just like any other for Jadon Sancho and Dave. Setting new levels and making the world take notice of their extraordinary talent has become a recurring theme for the pair, but it has never been executed with the sort of symmetry the world witnessed last night. The South London duo showcased why they should be regarded as the leaders of the new generation in their respective art forms with two simultaneously nerveless and near-faultless performances on the very biggest of stages.
Two years after Stormzy asked “where’s the money for Grenfell?” in a memorable Brits performance, Dave updated the sentiment for 2020 with a new verse for ‘Black’ that made headlines worldwide and instantly entered the discussion around the most iconic performance in the award show’s 40-year history. In an unapologetic display, Dave labelled Boris Johnson a racist, demanded answers for Grenfell, brought attention to the Windrush generation, attacked the press for tabloid coverage of Meghan Markle, and paid a powerful tribute to his late friend, London Bridge terror attack victim Jack Merritt, who dedicated his life to spreading peace and tolerance. He picked up the coveted award for ‘Album of the Year’ moments later.
In a world where it’s so easy to zone out from politics and bury your head in the sand, Dave – in his role as the flag-bearer for a new generation – delivers vital, timely and politically-charged music like no one else with his profile.
Sancho humiliating Verratti.
No manners 😤 pic.twitter.com/TGR03JKUqO
— VERSUS (@vsrsus) February 19, 2020
While all this was unfolding, the Signal Iduna Park was once again being lit up by Camberwell-born baller Jadon Sancho. Showing exactly how it’s done to the world’s two most expensive players in Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, Sancho turned up on the biggest stage, barely putting a foot out of place in his side’s 2-1 victory over the superstars playing from Paris Saint-Germain.
While Erling Haaland will steal the headlines, Sancho’s precise passing, incisive dribbling and all-round ice cold display in one of the most high-profile games of his career so far showed the world that he’s going straight to the top, with BT Sport pundit Owen Hargreaves left saying: “He was unplayable. Get your cheque books out. Somebody go and sign that kid because he is special.”
While Dave has reinvented what it means to be a UK rapper at the highest level – creating self-produced, politically-charged and chart-topping music – Sancho is the poster boy of a new breed of tekky, expressive and fearless England players, generating more excitement around the national team than since Wayne Rooney at Euro 2004. We’re blessed to be living in a timeline when two generational talents are pushing the most important pillars of youth culture forward.
The scale of their journey, the success they’ve achieved, and the influence they’ve had on their respective art forms is unprecedented – and it’s made all the more special by the fact they grew up just a few miles apart from each other. Dave and Sancho might be the two biggest role models for this generation right now, and they’re on a parallel path to greatness.
Santan and Sancho have been making light work of this for the last few years, toppling records and racking up historic numbers with the same ease in which they deliver a wordplay-filled 16 or audacious assist. Dave’s last few years have seen him go from learning to play piano in his bedroom to topping the UK charts and picking up Mobo, Ivor Novello and Mercury Awards. Meanwhile, Jadon Sancho broke every unwritten rule in the game to turn down a pro contract with Manchester City as a 17-year-old prospect, instead choosing to take his talents to another country with Borussia Dortmund in faster search of first-team football. He’s since become European Football’s most elite teenager and has inspired a new generation of young English players to play abroad.
Football and music also share a closer relationship than ever before – and it was no surprise to see the two link up over the summer at MERKY Festival, which led to a slew of Sancho to United chat on behalf of Manchester United’s unofficial Director of Football.
Both certified prodigies in their own right, the levels being set by these two guys from South London should be inspiring to young people everywhere.
Jadon Sancho and Dave are proving that you’re never too young to conquer the world.