“We destroyed Wireless,” D-Block Europe’s Young Adz tells Apple Music’s Charlie Sloth. “They had to shut down our performance, bro. People getting pulled out of the crowd—big grown men, women, half dead, bro. Crazy.” The chart-scaling numbers put up by their debut mixtape, Home Alone, had already established the South Londoners as one of UK rap’s hottest tickets. The full-capacity chaos of their set at London’s Wireless Festival in July 2019 just confirmed it. D-Block Europe has no intention of resting on their laurels either, delivering a hefty 28 tracks on this tape released seven months after Home Alone.
Considering its size, PTSD is remarkably absorbing and coherent, reshaping UK trap with sharp wordplay, indelible hooks, and plenty of sonic experimentation—the head-snapping rhythms of “Ain’t Chanelle,” the melodic melancholy of “Outside,” the searching self-examination of “Last Night in Barcelona.” “That’s why we withheld from even signing to a label in England, because this sound has never existed before over here in the way we’re doing it,” says Young Adz. “You can tell me the success you’ve had with this Afroswing artist or this club guy…that ain’t our music. We’re not a social experiment, like, ‘Let me just give them a bag and see if we can do it.’ We’ve got to do it, we’ve got to direct the wave.”
As the collective’s core duo, Young Adz and Dirtbike LB are doing a fine job by themselves. High-wattage features from UK and US artists—including Dave, Lil Baby, AJ Tracey, and Krept & Konan—highlight their lofty status in hip-hop, while cutting PTSD’s trap-house tales and bedroom stories with bold glimpses of the paranoia and trauma of road life only makes the music more compelling. “We’re the ones that are pushing this boundary,” says Young Adz. “People who are signing urban music over here, whatever they want to call it…they call it urban, we call it pop in the streets. That ain’t street music. We’re doing street, UK, wavy music, front-lining it. And we’re doing more numbers than these people that are signed with a machine that’s spending £10,000 a week to keep them in the charts.”