Words: Dylan Murphy
The Drill Bit is your monthly dispatch from the world of drill where we dig into artists making waves and the developments within the scene as they happen.
In October we saw Ireland have one of its most productive months to date. Artists from different corners of the country are flying the flag for their area with many building bridges to the UK. Despite its popularity online, drill in Ireland still finds itself on the peripheries of the media at home.
Say what you want about the content of their lyrics and the extent to which they reflect a dark reality, but the acts behind drill in Ireland are doing bigger numbers than their more traditional hip hop contemporaries.
Predictably, coming in towards the end of 2020 a lot of cut-throat spitters are taking things up a notch. There are teens going viral, creative football double entendres and overseas collaborations.
In this edition, we look at the crew from Drogheda about to blow and the UK’s most consistent artist.
Dutchavelli has been on a tear in 2020. His deep, cut throat sentiments have floated over beats with Stormzy, DigDat and MHuncho in a year that he’s made his own.
Often the appeal in artists spitting about the streets relies heavily upon how convincing their verbal tapestries are. Dutch sits in the same boat as Freddie Gibbs and Pusha T in that regard. His bone-crushing delivery and exasperated wordplay are informed by experience and evoke darker days. Birmingham’s M1llionz came through to highlight some of the maddest flows lie outside the capital.
Headie One shared ‘EDNA’ in the first week of October and consequently maintained his status as UK drill royalty. Enlisting features from Drake, Stormzy, Ivorian Doll and more it highlights his ability not only as a spitter but as an orchestrator of collaborative magic. Managing to shine through the midst of a number of huge contributions is no easy feat.
Central Cee’s beat selection is top-notch. There’s something haunting about the juxtaposition between his words and the freewheeling horn-driven instrumental.
Somewhere between his effortless delivery and razor sharp one liners he’s developed a charming charisma that should be enjoyed at a distance.
Drogheda’s Offica has been making waves in 2020. It’s been non-stop since he released ‘Naruto Drillings‘ and KSI hopped on the remix. Until recently, he never took off his naruto-inspired mask and his a sound selection shrouded him in mystery.
Recently, he dropped the veil, revealing his face and subsequently he took the internet by storm. With Offica, it’s a family affair and he recently dropped a single with A92 – the crew hailing from Drogheda that he grew up with. Predictably, their rise has been just as explosive as Offica’s and their debut crew cut ‘A92 Link Up’ landed them a lot of plaudits. Since then he’s been working with collective A92 and it’s their debut single titled ‘A92 Link Up’.
Produced by Ireland’s resident wiz kid JBJ, (the 17 year old producer that’s grabbed the attention of Headie One and more) it’s the perfect introduction to the crew.
It’s been a minute since Reggie’s iconic New Eire Flow, since then he’s gained co-signs from Harlem Spartan’s founder Blanco and shared a personal ode to the black experience in Ireland.
Now, he’s released his debut project O2P, a double entendre meaning & ‘OPP’ (O – Two P) and 0 to P’s, noting his transition from the Trap to Legal money.
But it’s the first track on the project that grabbed my attention as a nordie. It’s common knowledge that football references get laced through just about every drill cut. I’ve heard enough “Out on the wing like (insert generic premier league wide man)” to last me a lifetime. However, never did I think I’d see the day the legendary George Best would connect with drill music.