D-Block Europe and Yxng Bane offer brevity and melody on their surprise mixtape.
Over the years, Young Adz has undergone a stylistic makeover. Substituting traditional rap for trap arrangements, Young Adz formed the duo D-Block Europe alongside Dirtbike LB. Together, the pair have garnered success with singles such as “Traphouse”, “Large Amounts” and “The Shard”. Elsewhere, afro-swing pioneer Yxng Bane has been breaking through the pop landscape without the assistance of a commercial project. Despite the contrary positioning in their careers, chemistry in the studio is what must have lead to the first notable collaborative project of the year by UK artists.
The collaboration is unexpected yet appropriate. At a succinct 29 minutes, melody is what steers Any Minute Now, with Yxng Bane’s viscid Auto-Tune complimenting Young Adz and Dirtbike LB’s narconomics.
Sonically, Any Minute Now inherits the trap blueprint set by the likes of Future and Migos, though bundles it with Yxng Bane’s afroswing influence. Lead single “Gucci Mane” twangs and whirs as Young Adz and Yxng Bane share the quotable chorus (“If Gucci Mane was in my kitchen he’ll say ‘Brrr'”). Further tracks such as “Better Than Yours” and “Life” bundle up the trap rattlings with the suitable trap remarks of Pyrex, bands, chains and designer brands. The blueprint may not be unique, but the trio ensure they bring the melody and hooks to justify their efforts.
When D-Block Europe aren’t steering the ship, the mixtape ensures it taps into Yxng Bane’s strengths as well. The trendy production of “Cocktail” is right up the lane of recent UK hits, while the upbeat “Work” is derivative of Bane’s dancehall traits. Yxng Bane’s melodic performances also match up to the smoothness of “Flights” and “Real Love”, also continuing the mixtape’s knack for memorable hooks.
The mixtape ends on its strongest note with the closing track “Rap Saved Me”. Young Adz, Dirtbike LB and Yxng Bane all exchange short and sweet verses in rotation, offering quotable lines that transcends even to Bane and Adz’s shared hook (“Eyebags this week, all week, no sleep / Had to run it up, skipping leg day for the whole week”). The production may be muted, but allows the melodies of the trio’s auto-tuned vocals to float across the loaded 3 minutes.
Beside the hooks and melodies, the strength of Any Minute Now lies in its length. Most mixtapes tend to be bloated with filler, though the 10 songs of Any Minute Now cruise in just half an hour. For a genre that is typically a one-trick pony, it is vital to favour quality over quantity.
For all its strengths, the chemistry of the artists is not always successful. The performance of Young Adz on “ILY (Interlude)” is uncomfortable, who is too lyrically and vocally blunt to pull off what Yxng Bane accomplishes in the second half. The penultimate track, “Away”, is too smooth for Dirtbike LB to find the pocket that Bane can. For moments like these that demand strong vocals rather than rap verses, D-Block Europe fit awkwardly on songs that should have belonged solely to Yxng Bane.
The collaboration was never demanded, but Any Minute Now proves it was worthwhile. In a scene that’s currently focused on hitmaking, D-Block Europe and Yxng Bane have produced a concise project with memorable hooks, varied production and chemistry between the three artists.
Rating: 7 / 10
Best tracks: “Rap Saved Me”, “Better Than Yours”, “Cocktail”, “Flights”, “Gucci Mane”