In the last few years, drill has replaced grime as UK rap’s most widespread and commercially successful subgenre. Pioneering artists like 67 and Harlem Spartans have paved the way for the likes of Headie One, Digga D and K-Trap, and over time, UK drill has been exported across the world. The sound has produced offshoots across Europe, Africa, Australasia, and the Americas, and the results have been seriously impressive. Here, we’ll take you through 9 songs that underline UK drill’s worldwide influence.
Pop Smoke – ‘Dior‘
Chicago is widely known as the root of all drill music. But in New York, the drill sound has more in common with the UK subgenre than Illinois’ originator city. Pop Smoke, who tragically lost his life in 2020, remains one of NY drill’s biggest names, with several huge tracks to his name including a heavy posthumous drill collab with Migos. Produced by London beatmaker 808 Melo, his captivatingly murky hit ‘Dior’ highlights the UK’s ties to the East coast scene.
G4 Boyz – ‘Local Scammer’ Remix ft. Chief Keef and G4 Choppa
Made up of rappers Ice Baby and Buggy, New York duo G4 Boyz are part of the wider Gwalla gang, a “creative collective… of Africans, Dominicans, Spanish, Asians,” according to Buggy. The Staten Island group’s original ‘Local Scammer’ was an anthem, but the remix that followed blew even that out of the water. Featuring Chief Keef and London rapper G4 Choppa, it’s a huge tune that encapsulates UK drill’s worldwide influence.
Yaw Tog – ‘Sore’ Remix ft. Stormzy & Kwesi Arthur
There’s no denying that West African artists have taken drill to some exciting new places. One of the hottest rappers in the game right now is young Ghanaian Yaw Tog, whose recent link-up with Stormzy and Kwesi Arthur on ‘Sore’ has blown up online, notching over 7 million views to date.
Kofi Jamar – ‘Ekorso’ ft. Yaw Tog & Ypee
Another key name in Ghana’s buzzing drill scene is Kofi Jamar. The Kumasi-hailing musician brought in Yaw Tog and Ypee for his smash hit ‘Ekorso’, a powerful track shaped by sweeping strings and a dark, enticing piano sequence.
Luciano – ‘Bamba’ ft. Bia & Aitch
Last year, UK rap lynchpin Headie One dropped his pioneering project ‘No Borders’, a series of collabs with European artists. German rapper Luciano was one of the most exciting names on the tape, and his explosive 2022 track ‘Bamba’, featuring Bia & Aitch, underlines his star status.
KobaLad – ‘Daddy Chocolat’ ft. Gazo
Enlisting the help of fellow Parisian Gazo, ‘Daddy Chocolat’ is one of the biggest singles from French rap sensation KobaLad, who also first gained prominence in the UK from a collab with Headie One (check out ‘Link In The Ends’ for more proof of the duo’s tight musical bond).
OneFour – ‘The Message’
Aussie drill has blown up in recent years, led by a handful of pioneering MCs and collectives. Hailing from the Mount Druitt suburb of Western Sydney, OneFour are arguably Australia’s best-known drill group. ‘The Message’ is one of their darker joints, its haunting piano melody and heavy 808s reminiscent of classic UK tracks like Poundz’s ‘Who’s Laughing’.
Hooligan Hefs – ‘IYKYK’ ft. Hooligan Skinny
Hooligan Hefs is another high flyer within the Aussie drill scene. Featuring heavily syncopated hi hats and rim shots, his track ‘IYKYK’ is packed with fiery, battle-ready bars and a powerful hook — “They know who / We know who / I guess if you know, you know”.
Liamsi – ‘Mon Love Oho’
A viral dance challenge on TikTok has caused Moroccon rapper Liamsi’s ‘Mon Love Oho’ to seriously blow, racking up over 2m creations at the time of writing. With a relentless bouncing rhythm and calm, concise vocals, it’s a super enticing track that demands listen after listen. Check out some of the best ‘Mon Love Oho’ videos here.