Though initially coming to popularity as Chief Kief and Lil Durk’s medium of choice to recount stories of violence and the neglected black communities of Chicago, drill music’s influence can now be found across the globe.
The merciless 808s, bells and sirens that recreate the panic-stricken street corners of the windy city have been twisted and reconstructed to now also authentically soundtrack the strifes of people on road in London. Its tone and style is even resonating with young people as far away as the southern hemisphere, with Australia’s Onefour rising astronomically in the last 12 months.
It’s a sound embroiled in controversy, with debates raging over its impact on young people, with artists arguing their music reflects harsh and violent realities rather than encouraging it. UK authorities have gone as far as to ban certain artists make drill music, claiming it has links to increased knife crime.
Ireland too now has a rapidly emerging wave of young drill MCs taking the country by storm. In the last 12 months we have seen New Eire TV and Dearfach TV showcase the country’s drill rappers, who for the most part have been making moves outside the confines of traditional media. Artists like Chuks and Reggie have built sizeable fanbases through their freestyles and tongue-twisting flows that have the youtube comment sections vibrating like an overfilled beehive. INK on the other hand has featured in a Noisey documentary on drill’s place in Ireland and had a ‘Fire in the Booth‘ with Charlie Sloth on Beats 1.
Though many artists are still finding their sound and imitation of other scenes is common place, what isn’t up for debate is the influence and popularity of drill music in Ireland.
For this month’s edition of The Drill Bit we’ve curated the notable releases to come out of Ireland so far this year to get you up to speed with the underground movement. If you missed our feature with rising Drogheda rapper Offica check it here.
(AV9) Chuks x Rose – Facts (Offica Diss)
Balbriggan’s AV9 crew started off the year with a bang. Releasing ‘Facts’ on the British Youtube channel Pressplay Media, Chuks and Rose9’s collaborative effort is currently sitting at close to a million plays already.
Drogheda’s A92 have been going back and forth with AV9 for some time and ‘Facts’ seemingly sees the duo fire shots at Offica, with Rose saying “The Naruto Drilling’s are all Fake”, referencing Offica’s Naruto Drilling’s which featured KSI.
Offica – Face Reveal (Av9 Diss)
Offica made his name through anime-inspired drill cuts whilst spitting behind a mask and subsequently shrouding himself in modern, musical Irish folklore of sorts.
Growing weary of his disguise, he took to GRM Daily a few weeks ago to remove the mask and hit back at the Av9 track ‘Facts’. With the video set to hit a million views in the coming weeks, Offica is showing no signs of slowing down.
His unique style is quickly resonating with fans, with his use of Yoruba (native Nigerian language) and the frequent Naruto-inspired production from Kid Spyral is setting him apart from the crowd.
His shots aren’t as direct or on the nose as Av9’s, but he’s standing firm in his belief of his ability in ‘Face Reveal’.
Hollywood Boyz FT YZ x Reggie x Cubez – Opp Thot
Gearing up to release their second full length project, Hollywood Boyz dropped a nonchalant cut featuring YZ, Reggie and Cubez. ‘Opp Thot’ sees the trio showcase their respective skillset, with YZ bringing his unmistakeable delivery, Reggie with the wordplay and Cubez with creative flows.
Velli Valentino – Nollywood
Trying his hand at drill this year Limerick City’s Velli Valentino sent shockwaves through the scene with his infectious delivery on ‘Nollywood’.
Though sitting a little rough round the edges in terms of the overall sound quality, the imperfections add to the reocrd’s raw appeal. Debuting on Dearfach, Velli was one of the first in Ireland to mix Yoruba and english through his bars, a move Offica later adopted. The south west MC sprinkled some skateboarding one liners in ‘Noollywood’ that Tony Hawk’s would be proud of.
Jugjug x CY1 – Kside Living
In late 2019 K Side’s JugJug was incarcerated for previous charges he had against him. ‘Kside Living’ represents the first track to drop from the spitter whilst being behind bars.
The release of ‘Ten Toes’, ‘Barbie’ and ‘Work’ had JugJug being proclaimed the Prince of Galway by many and after teaming up with fellow collective member CY1, he may have cemented that title.
Jugjug used the track as an opportunity to take aim at members of rival crew DK.
INK – Bend and Flex
His hyper-violent lyrics and merciless approach to drill has pushed him to huge heights, with Charlie Sloth inviting him to perform a ‘Fire in the Booth‘ freestyle at the tail end of 2019.
He’s continued his rich vein of form with another murky track in the shape of ‘Bend and Flex’, enlisting the genre’s quintessential sounds to underpin his thick brogue and bouncy flow.
Notes: HYB Junz.