Words by Gerry Otim
One of today’s most popular acts in the UK are back, almost a year since they released their debut studio album – ‘The Blue Print: Us Vs. Them’ which peaked at number 2 in the UK album charts. For most musicians, taking a year out from releasing music would not be viewed as a prolonged period of time. But D-Block Europe, otherwise known as DBE aren’t like most musicians.
The duo’s work rate and their ability to churn out music at a rapid rate is unrivalled. Since 2018, Young Adz and Dirtbike LB have released a remarkable 5 mixtapes and a studio album. That’s without including the collaborative album ‘Insomnia’, which released in 2020 and saw Adz team up with UK veterans Chip and Skepta.
After 4 UK top ten albums, 17 top 40 singles, twice selling out the esteemed Alexandra Palace and more many achievements, UK’s wave rap front-runners are back with Home Alone 2. A sequel to their debut solo mixtape Home Alone, which peaked at number 6 in the charts.
DBE marked their return to the scene with the release of Kevin McCalister in July of this year, recruiting Lil Pino in the process for a guest feature. Yet it was their second single, ‘No Competition’, which can be deemed as the rubber stamp that launched ‘Home Alone 2’.
Adz opens the single in typical braggadocios fashion we have some to know and love, whilst giving fans a potential insight statement into his relationship status: ‘No competition, I only see meLady from Paris, and she tell me, “Oui”’.
The tape has tons of features which includes Offset, Jordan Morris, Tion Wayne, M Huncho, Tiny Boost, Wretch 32 and Central Cee. The duo’s collaboration with Central, titled ‘Overseas’ is certainly one of the mixtapes highlights.
Adz continues to reference a particular lady in his life, whilst depicting the lavish lifestyle he has become accustomed to living. Seemingly, he is in a different space now to when Home Alone released in 2018: “The year has just started and right now, I’m lookin’ for cribs overseas
I’m giving my lady some driving lessons in a hundred-grand Jeep.”
Wretch’s guest feature verse on ‘Don’t Go’ is a pleasant change from the songs before it. Wretch has been fairly quiet on the music front over the last few years, yet remains one of the scene’s most technically skilled musicians. Verses from Wretch and LB are well complimented by a slow, auto-tuned hook from Adz.
With a duration of 1 hour and 11 minutes, Home Alone 2 is certainly a more concise body of work than its predecessor. Yet, the decision to go with 23 songs leaves room for mediocrity to creep onto the tape. That’s not to so there are any disastrously bad songs on the project either. The streaming era of music has enabled a space where listeners are avalanches with music that may have been discarded from projects prior to the arrival of Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal et al.
However, from an artists’ perspective, it seems the benefits far outweigh the detriments. According to former marketing manager at Atlantic records Malcom Manswell: “Stacking albums with extra songs is a strategic way to achieve certain goals,”. Said goals can be anything from achieving high positions in the charts to gaining highly coveted plaques.
Overall, Home Alone 2 is a success for Adz and Dirtbike. The mixtape feels like an attempt at combining of them doing what they do best, and what has helped them garner such a loyal fanbase, whilst depicting the fact that they aren’t the same people they were when they burst onto the scene in 2018. Or when they made Home Alone. Or when they made The Blueprint. With Home Alone 2 charting at number 6 in the UK charts, it’s clear that the return of DBE has been well received by their fans.