One thing I’ve always known is that in order to succeed you either have to create something new or you improve on an existing idea. Simple right?
When it comes to drill rap I wouldn’t say the Brixton rappers have outdone their American counterparts but they’ve put their own spin on it and the waves have been incredible. From 7 figure YouTube views to the rave scene reactions you can’t deny the obsession, but how deep has the influence been on the culture?
Influenced by a Chicago music sub-genre that’s only 4 years old at best, there was always going to be a gap for a UK version of this style. Although it’s evident that the foundation of this style is deep rooted in Chicago this doesn’t and shouldn’t be allowed to detract from their impact. My cousin would shout ‘I don’t wanna look like you‘ to me for 6 months straight while my 2 year old son would somehow find his way on LinkUpTV or playing Grizzy’s Wicked Skengman. Once I delved deeper into the lottery that is the ‘related vids’ section I realised that nearly half of the up and comers have been using using the same formula made popular by the Brixton rappers. I’d see a mini Rendo or a carbon copy Dimzy and it dawned on me that it had become an epidemic.
The street element contained in the music has further attracted fans, competitiveness has always been a pillar of rap and as seen with Chip last year, what more do the public like to see than people beefing? It seems as if drill rap has become the new platform for voicing opinions on your ‘opps’. (A perfect example A1 from the 9 – Opp Niggas)
This is not to take away from the talent of the rappers or producers (can’t ever forget Carns). I’m seeing a new avenue for rappers who some would crassly say make ‘roadman music‘, that I haven’t seen since Giggs or the recent emergence of Nines. I might have phrased it that way because I couldn’t be bothered to think of a term for them without boxing them in but ‘boxed in’ they are far from. With 67’s headline show maybe people realised some of these rappers are making the moves others have been trying to make for years. Without wanting to frustrate these other rappers further, it doesn’t even look like they’re trying, but I guess it all adds to the allure because the story of finding diamonds in the dirt is way more emotionally evoking and entertaining.
In London we are very proud of where we’re from almost to a fault but this pride is never more evident than in music. I wouldn’t say Brixton run the scene but nevertheless they’ve definitely left an imprint that can’t be disputed. I remember when east London dominated the grime world and had the most famous MCs, I almost thought it was a factory, or even last year with Croydon and their mainstream success. Nonetheless few have had this Future-esq effect on a scene where so many choose to follow and hone in on a particular sound. Looking back at some of my favourite Grime artists, I remember how their careers died before Limewire did. Needless to say I know every dog has his day and every music style has its time period.
In summary, I know our pride is made up of many things and music is just a small part. I’ll never forget my friend from Peckham who would almost go into cardiac arrest every time Talking the Hardest was played in a rave and I understood why lol. All I’m saying is give credit where credit is due for this particular wave and if I was from Brixton I’d be pretty proud.
Words by @PoetTyro