In recent months, the genre of U.K. drill has come under extreme scrutiny from authorities and institutions such as YouTube, which deleted 30 drill music videos at the request of Metropolitan Police. Many of the implicated artists themselves have chosen to reman silent on the issue, even as it's spurred an international discourse around them. Today, one prominent group making U.K. drill music, the MOBO-nominated 67, is speaking out. The crew shared an open letter with The FADER, written by one of its members, Dimzy.
"Whilst I see that media need to give the general public answers, and authorities have to publicly be seen to do something about violence and crime, I don’t think it is right to blame or alienate one music genre as a scapegoat," wrote Dimzy. "If we put it in to a different context, we don’t see blame being focussed half as much on other entertainment such as computer games, films or TV."
Read the full letter below.
"No matter what is portrayed by the media, there are always two angles, the positive and the negative. Of late there there have been a large number of negative articles and opinions centred around Drill music. Most articles focus on lyrical content and have made a conclusion that it is fuelling the sporadic rise in the number of violent crimes in London.
Whilst I see that media need to give the general public answers, and authorities have to publicly be seen to do something about violence and crime, I don’t think it is right to blame or alienate one music genre as a scapegoat. There have been many occasions in history where this has happened before including the Punk era and even most recently with Grime - a genre that is now hugely supported by media and creating some of the UK’s biggest musical exports - surely only a benefit to the country and a great example to the budding musicians out there.
If we put it in to a different context, we don’t see blame being focussed half as much on other entertainment such as computer games, films or TV. I personally have watched numerous series’ on Netflix, recently binge watching Bulletproof, but that does not make me want to start stealing high end cars or accusing the police of corruption, as much as watching Money Heist doesn’t make me want to rob a bank. The media haven’t turned to the writers of certain video games or films to blame them for the actions of those committing crimes and whilst there may be an argument which would suggest that music is more of a personal account from its writers, whether that is the case or not, the message being displayed is somewhat similar.
Unfortunately for many growing up in today’s society, particularly in inner city areas, the youth is exposed to crime and violence as part of every day life. As drill is a relatively ’new’ genre of music, you tend to find a lot of the people involved in it are young so I personally am not surprised by the content of the music. They are talking about life as they see it and experiences they have been through, the same as any other artist tends to in any other genre.
I can’t speak for everyone else but from my experience, doing Drill music has positively changed my life in so many ways. I can now pay bills & set up direct debits which builds my credit score so I can go on to have a mortgage and be self sufficient. I can contribute financially to help my family financially. I’ve explored different cities & towns, indulged in different cultures, tasted different food and met different types of people who live all different types of lifestyles with different beliefs and these things have made me be a much more mature and patient person.
I’ve learnt so much in the past few years doing music that I can now pass my knowledge and experience onto others. I can help other artists and producers to have a more consistent and knowledgable journey in the industry.
Until my daughter arrived, music was one of the things keeping me going in life, giving me hope and something to focus on instead of being outside where I was more likely to have problems or get into trouble. Through my journey as a drill artist I’ve learned an empire doesn’t become an empire overnight, it’s going to take both positivity & negativity to become something successful and you learn how to deal with that professionally and maturely.
I will continue to stay positive as my experience goes far beyond what is being portrayed to the country and I hope that people can see beyond the media scapegoating us for the problems in our fragmented society. There’s always going to be negative in everything when it comes to this world but it’s about coming together & making negative situations as positive as they can be and as long as music can be an outlet and a form of therapy to those that create it, then it will always be a positive.”