Don’t know the drill? Pop in to the party and we’ll shake the room
A new genre of hip hop is freestyling your way, but if you’re older than 30 you might want to give it a miss
Earlier this week, Canadian rapper Drake, a contender for biggest name in music, dropped a song featuring his latest attempt at a new accent. Only You Freestyle, featuring UK drill artist Headie One, features Drake spitting raps in a UK accent and even throwing in a bit of Arabic. It’s par for the course for the rapper, who enjoys experimenting with different styles of hip hop, but it has got a lot of the uninitiated scratching their heads and asking a simple question: What is drill music?
Earlier this year, people were asking themselves the same thing when US drill star Bashar Jackson, aka Pop Smoke, was killed in a home invasion in Hollywood. Just days before his murder he’d released his second mixtape, Meet the Woo 2, and was fast making a name for himself, thanks to the success of songs such as Welcome to the Party, Dior and Shake the Room. His posthumous album, Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon, debuted at number one when it came out earlier this month. At the time of his death, Jackson was one of the US faces of a sound younger than your teenager, but with more spin-offs than American sitcom Black-ish.
Commonly accepted drill lore had the genre starting in the early 2010s in Chicago, when teenage rappers such as Chief Keef gained huge internet popularity shooting lyrically aggressive videos while under house arrest. The videos then popped up on YouTube. Content-wise drill was and continues to be a callback to a much rawer, angrier time in hip hop...