“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything” – Plato
Apparently Plato didn’t even say this LOL, but the phrases in bold are befitting for this topic.
It seems as though this year in particularly, every few days when you turn on your TV or browse through your social feeds, another youth has been stabbed and yet again, there’s another masked youth on YouTube talking about cheffin’ his pagans. 1+1 right?
What is Drill Music?
Drill (slang for automatic weapons), originated from South Chicago and became mainstream in 2012, notably through Chigago rapper Chief Keef. The lyrics are said to reflect the day-to-day life in the streets of Chicago, implying that the violence came before the music, not the other way round. Before you say it, yes, not everything mentioned in UK Drill seems to have happened as frequently as it’s told, but that’s another debate.
The flow is simple and tolerably identical across most tracks, the beat sounds like a scary horror movie soundtrack, but a hood one. It’s distinguished by an ostinato often using the piano, prominent bells, effects, snares and 808s around 70BPM. Two producers killing the UK Drill scene right now are Carns Hill and QuietPvck.
Often misinterpreted as Grime in the UK *rolls eyes*, Drill falls under the umbrella of Trap music. However, it has darker, grimmer, cruddier lyrics, often talking about ‘opps’. London music group ’67’ and Youtube Channel PacmanTV have been the pioneers of this genre in recent years amassing millions of views and thousands of followers in the process.
— 9bills.co.uk (@9bills) November 16, 2016
How would Drill influence me?
The mind has the competence of rational thinking, it is able to become aware of things (consciousness) and remember them (memory). As each person’s mind is unique, perception will differ from person to person, judgment and forming opinions is subjective to how one thinks.
The Imagination is defined as the image-making power of the mind. In other words, it can invent things that the mind has not seen, construct false images and create fantasies.
So what would be the implication of hearing “Knife works been official, dip a nigga up get him soaked like a bizzle”?
Someone that has already observed this violence (or similar) may have a predisposition to act upon the lyrics, hate them or just find them relatable and keep it moving.
Someone who has never seen such may start to use their imagination and wonder what it’s like to actually do it and then try it! Or may simply perceive it as just music, other genres such as heavy metal also have violent lyrics…
If Drill had a DIRECT influence in the spiking knife crime rate, you would assume that as Drill became more mainstream, there would be a positive correlation in comparing its timeline and the timeline of knife crime rising, right?
Show me some stats!!
According to The Office for National Statistics (ONS), in 2016 there was a 9% rise in recorded offences in general, in comparison to 2015. It was interpreted that crime itself is not increasing, it is the changes in recording processes that are, deeming year to year comparisons pointless.
Additionally, The ONS said between 2004-2014 there was almost a continual decline in police recorded crime and after that, recording began to increase. So surely if Drill had a significant impact, there would have been a recorded increase from 2012.
On the other hand, during 2014-2016 the amount of kids carrying knives in London school’s rose by 50% and offences rose by 26%. In Scotland however, offensive weapons (including knives) crime saw their lowest in 31 years. With London being the home of UK Drill, assuming a significant influence isn’t far fetched.
Patrick Green, the manager of the Ben Kinsella Trust in London explains that the media’s coverage on the murder of young people is inconsistent. Some fatal deaths don’t get any coverage as there are other major things happening in the news, or the media may not perceive the victim worthy enough. Imagine that.
He goes on to say that with a lot of assistance from politicians, it has distorted our understanding of it. Now that’s food for thought because there’s just been a General Election.
Well, is Drill the cause or not?
As there are currently no official statistics for 2017, we as a people are basing our thoughts on a combination of individual assumptions, what the media reports and how politics portrays it.
Let’s not forget that aside from music, other forms of media and entertainment such as films, TV shows and the news have equally contributed to the mainstream broadcasting of violence. So if you want to partially blame Drill (or trap music), also partially blame these sources too.
Another thing to consider is that as Drill means automatic weapons, the lyrical content also dwells heavily on gun talk. Guns aren’t as easily accessible as knives are, but they’re not impossible to obtain either. So shouldn’t there be some sort of an increase in Gun crime too?