Ther year’s British awards may have been criticized for her shaky commitment to diversity, failing to promote enough female talent. But a nomination got to the point where new arrivals in South London, D-Block Europe, became the first rap act in over 20 years to be delivered as the best British group. Surprisingly, the prolific collective released three top 10 mixtape albums last year and graduated in headlining arenas, but their star Young Adz took the time to drop this surprise with veterans from the Skepta and Chip scene.
The “rap wave” sound of the D-Block in Europe, basically pornographic texts scattered on a languid tropical trap, floats pleasantly alongside Chip’s melodic flow on ventilated tracks like Golden Brown. Skepta brings all its brazen and chest-swollen energy in every direction to balance Adz’s unnerved and adenoidal Croatian Auto-Tune. The trio’s appetite for drugs, women and money never fluctuates from the first to the last track. Yet the most introspective songs, like the ghostly Traumatized and reflective High Road, tell powerful stories about their journey to success and show that the imperial phase of D-Block in Europe is far from over.