A tape packed with suaveness and flair, D Block Europe and Yxng Bane’s brand new collab tape is a great advert for the strength of the UK scene.
After the rapid success of their hit, Gucci Mane (which was only released last week), fans of the D Block and Yxng Bane were given a great surprise, with the announcement of a collaborative tape from the two set for release at 12AM midnight. The star power of Yxng Bane, mixed with the hitmaking juggernaut that is D-Block Europe, set the expectations for this tape sky high. Featuring 10 tracks, the album was set to be a sonic experience.
After listening to Gucci Mane, it was clear that the artists had an uncanny chemistry with each other, but there was still a question about whether they could carry this through a whole project. Nobody was doubting the quality of either artist, but there still remained a question of whether the tape would be experimental and cohesive, or if it would consist of 10 tracks that all sounded exactly like Gucci Mane. It was resoundingly the former.
The tape kicked off with the aforementioned Gucci Mane, which wonderfully set the tone for the rest of the tape; a platter of futuristic sounds, topped off with a sprinkle of autotune, and a pinch of boastfulness. It is not an uncommon occurrence for the first song of a tape to go lightning fast, and then the second song comes along and completely knocks the momentum out of the tape, but that doesn’t happen here.
Flights, despite containing the decade old adage of ‘they catch feelings, I catch flights’, maintains the lightning quick speed that the tape kicked off with, and again delivers with dozens of quotables for fans to take away for future picture captions.
Cocktail is the next track, and unsurprisingly, it’s another hit. BUT (and it’s a big but). Now, this is a collaborative tape. That means features would be kept to a minimum, seeing as there are already two or more artists featuring on each track. But if there is ever a song that was crying out for a feature, it was this one. Specifically, a Hardy Caprio feature; it’s almost as if the beat was handcrafted for him, and it would have added to what was already a very good song. It left you wanting a bit more after listening, but the rest of the tape makes up for this want.
In particular, the next 3 songs, which were probably the 3 standout tracks from the whole project. These 3 songs also facilitated a shift in the tone of the music; it was time for the love songs. Life has an extremely violent beat drop, and was complemented by Young Adz’s hypnotic flow and Bane’s melodies going back and forth. It bore such a stark contrast to the next song, Real Love, which introduced us to the soft side of each artist for the first time in the tape. It would not have been completely out of line to expect the majority of this tape to be ‘gas’ tunes, so for them to switch it up, and to also do it well, brought a greatly refreshing element to it. Again, Real Love sees each artist going back and forth, but with much more R&B-esque cadences. And then, from a moderate love song in Real Love, to a full swing love ballad next, in ILY (Interlude). The aptly named interlude again brings something new to the project, and displays how each artist can really do it all. Interludes are always a great way of giving an album a ‘breather’, so to speak, and ILY sees the album enter cruise mode.
The last 4 songs of the tape are difficult to judge. Arguably, the first two were quite underwhelming when comparing them to the final two, but they were still two good songs in their own right. It almost seemed as if they were trying to include everything in the tape, which unfortunately did not really work. Ironically, it was the song Work that pointed this out. The beat didn’t seem to suit each other artist, and it was quite a forgettable song. It would have been a real shame for them to leave the album on a bad note, so luckily, there was still Away and Rap Saved Me. Both artists seemed right back into their elements in the smooth Away, and the opulent flexing in Rap Saved Me was delivered with expertise.
Maybe collaborative albums should become more of a regular occurrence in the UK, because if this is what can be produced, then there’s so many more potential hits just waiting to be produced.