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Drill Rap: Life Imitates Art

By Jewelle Mills

Rap is a genre that chronicles the African American experience and narrates the difficulties of growing up in poverty. It is an eclectic genre that has brought people together and helped the voiceless feel heard. But just as beautiful as it can be, it can also be violent and dangerous. Gangsta rap has existed since the 90s and rappers would go back and forth dissing each other and bragging about violent crimes that they have committed against other black men. Now a new derivative of gangsta rap called drill rap has been created and has been used as a way for rappers to not only retaliate against each other musically but also in real life.

Drill rap originated in southside Chicago in 2011 and eventually made its way to the New York rap scene in the late 2010s due to Fivio Foreign and the late rapper Pop Smoke. Drill rap is such a violent genre that festivals have taken certain rappers off of their lineups out of fear that violence would break out due to their gang affiliation. Rap has always been violent in the past few years there has been an uptake in murders, especially amongst drill rappers in Chicago and NYC.

NYC mayor Eric Adams calls to ban drill rap from social media because it glorifies murder in and out of the studio. According to the New York Post, Eric Adams called to ban drill rap following the murder of an 18 teen-year-old rapper who was ambushed in Bed-Stuy and shot dead. Adams told Fox News “We’ve had a number of shootings in Brooklyn recently that are directly related to drill rap … [The rappers appear] on Facebook Live and Instagram Live, and they’re taunting their rivals in the rival gangs’ territory, saying, ‘We’re here. Come get us.' If we see you, we’re going to shoot you.” As stated earlier, rap has always been a violent genre that glorified gang activity. But now listeners are seeing the violence happening in real time. Young rappers call each other out on social media and diss each other in song only to be killed days later by their “opps” (opposition).

Although the mayor's intentions seem to come from the right place the question is will this stop the uptick in violence? Banning them from festivals and social media is not going to stop drill rappers from feuding with each other. These aren’t rappers pretending to be gangsta’s - these are gang bangers turned rappers and they aren’t going to stop living their lives just because of music. Their loyalty is to the streets, not their listeners.

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