Inside drill rap, the genre New York mayor wants to shut down

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Drill rap songs are number one with a bullet.

And it’s terrifying for New York City Mayor Eric Adams, cops and victims of the genre’s sometimes-triggered rappers, who glorify murder in their songs and are quick to reach for guns to settle disputes.

Adams’ call to ban drill rap videos on social media following the murder of rapper Jayquan McKenley, an 18-year-old who performed as Chii Wvttz and was shot in an ambush last week in front of a recording studio in Bed-Stuy, put the music under intense scrutiny.

Drill rappers are gaining popularity in part because of their flashy videos, which depict young hoodlums wielding handguns, splashing cash and smoking blunts — and have no problem blasting their rivals.

And it’s more deadly than just aggressive videos. As Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez 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 taunt their rivals in rival gang territory by saying, “We’re here.” Come get us. If we see you, we’ll shoot you.

Drill artist TDott Woo (born Tahjay Dobson) was shot in the head last month just after signing with Million Dollar Music label.
Tdott Woo/Instagram

According to Soren Baker, author of “The History of Gangster Rap”, the exercise takes rapping to a level of modern violence.

“Drill is basically a rap mobster driven by social media beefs and social media tactics,” Baker said. “These are real-time reactions to music and violence. Artists have been killed because they said, “I have a problem with this person and that’s where I am. The efficiency of the release of these songs “- with their real-time taunts -” leads to violence.

“We gon’ pull up in this hooptie like we cops on it / With M16s we gon’ shoot him,” sings genre pioneer Bobby Shmurda, who went to jail for seven years after he and members of his GS9 team – known for shooting randomly into nightclub crowds in New York and Miami – was charged with murder, drug trafficking and other crimes in Brooklyn in 2014. And the NYPD agreed.

NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig described Shmurda’s songs as “almost like an actual document of what [GS9 members] were doing in the street.

Pac Man was shot at age 25.
Pac Man was shot at age 25.
Getty Images

Adams wants social media platforms including TikTok, Instagram and Facebook to shut down the music, which has been around for more than a decade – saying the genre promotes violence and has contributed to the rise in gunfire in New York . One victim, rapper TDott Woo (born Tahjay Dobson) of Canarsie, Brooklyn, was shot in the head last month just after signing with the Million Dollar Music label.

“We took Trump off Twitter because of what he was spitting,” Adams said. “Yet we allow the music, the display of guns, the violence. We allow it to remain on these sites.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Adams appeared to backtrack on his earlier comments, saying some “young men and women” had told him, “We heard you say you were going to ban drill rap.” Says Adams: “I didn’t say that…what I said [was] that violent people who use drill rap to post who they killed and then antagonize the people they’re going to kill, that’s the problem.

His proposed crackdown follows restrictions on British rapper Digga D, who must now hand over transcripts of all lyrics to UK authorities before being allowed to release a new track.

On Jan. 27, rapper Nas Blixky, real name Nasir Fisher, was gunned down outside a Brooklyn bodega.
On Jan. 27, rapper Nas Blixky, real name Nasir Fisher, was gunned down outside a Brooklyn bodega.

Last December, 18-year-old rapper Kay Flock was charged with the murder of a 24-year-old man outside a barbershop on West 151st Street in Manhattan.
Last December, 18-year-old rapper Kay Flock was charged with the murder of a 24-year-old man outside a barbershop on West 151st Street in Manhattan.

In 2018, he was sentenced to a year in prison for his role in planning a violent gang attack; music videos in which he can be seen shooting people and being heard rapping over “banana clips” are considered evidence.

Shmurda’s attorney told the Post that trying to muzzle his client and other rappers was the wrong approach.

“The censorship of exercise music is a distraction,” said Kenneth Montgomery, who helped represent Shmurda in the rapper’s criminal case, in which he pleaded guilty to conspiracy and weapons possession charges. in 2016. “Bobby’s complications in life were tied to the community he grew up in. The music reflected what he saw in the community.

Jayquan McKenley, an 18-year-old performing under the name Chii Wvttz, was shot dead in an ambush on Feb. 6 outside a recording studio in Bed-Stuy.
Jayquan McKenley, an 18-year-old performing under the name Chii Wvttz, was shot dead in an ambush on Feb. 6 outside a recording studio in Bed-Stuy.
C-HII WVTTZ/Instagram

Drill rap began in Chicago a dozen years ago, with artists such as Pac Man (shot at age 25 in 2010) and King Louie rapping about the violent worlds around them.

According to Rovaun Pierre Manuel, former manager of Chief Keef, the biggest name in exercise, the genre emerged as a way for inner-city kids with rap star ambitions to convey their experiences through videos peppered with gunshots and explicit lyrics, delivered with deadpan vocals and aggressive drum beats.

The originators of the music, Manuel told the Post, “were in the gang world. It gave them a kind of authenticity that other rappers didn’t have. Music did not create violence. Violence created music.

After serving time in prison for conspiracy to plan a gang attack - in which his music was used as evidence against him - British rapper Digga D must now submit his lyrics to authorities before releasing a new song.
After serving time in prison for conspiracy to plan a gang attack – in which his music was used as evidence against him – British rapper Digga D must now submit his lyrics to authorities before releasing a new song.

According to Lou Savelli, an expert on gangs and gang culture who served as the NYPD’s first gang unit supervisor, music and violence are more closely linked than exercise proponents like to acknowledge. .

“One shoot I was watching,” Savelli told the Post, “someone mentioned that a drill rapper shot someone on one of their songs.”

While Savelli acknowledged that “not all kids who are drill rappers are violent,” he explained that “their style is tough…It’s all about identity, acting tough and talking tough on your videos. . It’s about being recognized. They put all their bullshit on social media. Some groups sell drugs.

Savelli talks about drill raps centered around “calling or disrespecting another neighborhood or another rap crew or group.”

When this type of baiting is combined with social media, as Mayor Adams pointed out, the cocktail can be combustible or even deadly.

On January 27, a rapper who went by the name of Nas Blixky (real name: Nasir Fisher) was gunned down outside a Brooklyn bodega in the Prospect Lefferts Gardens neighborhood. In the preview video for his song “PG 16,” dissing a rapper of the same name, Blixky is seen pointing a gun at the camera. (PG 16 has not been linked to the shooting.) It happened less than two years after fellow rapper Nick Blikxy was fatally shot in the same neighborhood.

Last December, rapper Kay Flock, 18, was charged with the murder of a 24-year-old man outside a barbershop on West 151st Manhattan street. The disagreement is said to be gang-related.

On whether or not these flesh-and-blood tragedies will lead to the toning down or outright banning of exercise videos on social media, Manuel replied, “Good luck with that. The violence in exercise videos is what sells. It’s what everyone wants to see. »

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