UK Drill and Chill: Changing the Scene in British Hip-Hop
Hostility drives people to do acts beyond what’s morally right. Gangsta rap captivates listeners through revenge seeking and the crude amoral bars spit over a sickening beat. Some of us like to watch murky TV shows such as Power, Narcos, and American Horror Story; so it’s not far fetched that some of us also enjoy listening to their equivalent in the form of music. UK drill draws millions of views on British platforms such as GRMdaily and LinkUpTV on YouTube. The music penetrates this desire to hear gritty nihilism and violence in the pursuit of power.
“Life ain’t fair and I don’t care”- Dimzy, Streetz (67)
UK Drill is straight outta South London and groups such as 67, Section Boyz, 410 and Harlem Spartans are the kings of the scene. However, not everyone in the scene is from South London. Abra Cadabra, from Tottenham, North London, gained popularity for his song “Robbery” featuring Krept and Konan, notable for his scary, demanding voice waging against his “opps.” UK Drill rappers grew up listening to grime artists rapping over 140bpm beats i.e. Giggs, Wiley, Dizzee Rascal, and Skepta. The inspiration from the grime generation is evident, using the unrestrained delivery of their raw voice, amplifying the threats in their lyrics. Multicultural London English (MLE) and ad-libs comprise the language of the lyrics of Grime and UK drill. MLE, otherwise known as “Jafaican”, is common language among the working class black youth in London.
Built On Hostility and Chicago Drill
The big difference is Chicago drill production, popularised by the likes of Chief Keef, Lil Durk, and King Louie, inspired the creation of UK drill. Therefore, the beats are much slower and darker than the 140bpm beats Grime is famous for.
“Hostility” is a major theme of the lyrics in UK drill.
Hostility towards their opposition (“opps”)….
“Caught that ni$$a at a red light God damn it man, he should’ve locked his car Then it’s neck shot, chest shot, head shot (what) How the f$$k did he survive”
Towards the police…
“Feds won’t let me go, they love searching They just wanna stop a man earning Every pig deserves to get burnt”
But loyal to their best friends.
“67, my brothers Spare No 1 for my bredrins”
Also, you cannot listen to drill and not know this line:
“Question, If gang pull up, are you gonna back your bredrin?”
Drake released More Life earlier this year, Grime rapper Giggs featured on “KMT.” A major look for the UK rapper but unfortunately, this line shocked some American listeners.
“Batman der ner ner ner ner”
Americans branded him and other UK rappers as “trash”. Americans’ dissonance to UK rap should not be shocking. Nonetheless, Americans, drill is clearly worth listening to if you enjoy gangsta rap. However, some questioned the authenticity of the “hood” personas of UK rappers. Strict laws in the UK against guns does not negate from the existence of problems similar to the “hoods” in the USA concerning gang violence and drugs.
Between 2010 and 2016, British youth services funding have been slashed by £387M. Many youth clubs have closed and austerity is ongoing. From housing to student loans, life is hard for young people of all racial groups. Imagine growing up as a young black boy, bored, poor, and in a hyper-masculine environment. Violence is a symptom of poverty, not the cause of it.
This is not just about music, rappers use their life and turn it into opportunities whilst completely changing the music scene in the UK and creating jobs in the process.
In a Complex interview, 67 described themselves as “a family and a brand”. The brand encompasses the rappers, designers, producers and their managers, they all grew up in the same area together. This is not just about music, rappers use their life and turn it into opportunities whilst completely changing the music scene in the UK and creating jobs in the process. It is exciting to see publications such as British Vogue embrace the new generation of British artists, they are featured in October’s British Vogue. Despite this, no black youths should be in the position to feel that their only options are illegally trapping or legally rapping.