UK Drill and The army of artists, their antics, turbulent lives and the tragedies that come as a cost have kept the scene in hot debate since it’s conception in the second quarter of this decade. The untimely demise of Kennington rapper and Harlem OG Bis last week – along with the countless other Drill rappers killed over the years stands to highlight it’s stark contrast to the Grime scene that preceded it. In the 15+ years since what we now know as Grime hit the pirate radio airwaves back in the early noughties, we only really lost one MC to streets – Escobar – and one MC to the jailhouse – Crazy Titch – compared to the staggering number of drillers who’re dead or in jail today.
The internet has had a bitter-sweet affect on the world around us. It’s given everyone the opportunity to be heard, empowering a whole generation and the UK Drill phenomenon is a clear example of the treacle down affect. Despite what the Daily Mail will lead you to believe, knife crime was equally as bad, if not worse in the the last decade with the London murder rate at a high of 204 in 2003 compared to 131 deaths last year. So considering there’s not actually more people stabbing each other, it would seem that – in correlation with the growth of social media and the internet – significantly more members of the gang affiliated, drug dealing, cunch trippin, ultra violent inner city youth who make up the statistics for violent crime must be making music about it accounting for the amount of fatalities among the artists in UK Drill compared to previous movements.
Similarly the countless deaths are as prevalent as the countless prison sentences being dished out among the leading Drill rappers reinforcing the shift in the cultural landscape. 67 members LD and ASAP both got slapped with 4 and a half years each after getting bagged in country, along with SJ of the Broadwater Farm collective OFB getting lifed off for a murder case last week. Still managing to make a cameo in the video for the single ‘Once In a While’, once again, thanks to the internet.
s/o SJ and the rest of the UK rappers on lockdown – bang your doors
With half the rising talent getting birded off or killed in the field of late, there’s been a distinctly dark cloud hanging over what seemed to be the most globally infectious sound to come out of the country. Fortunately though, where the scene has become almost exclusively notable for criminality and not for the music, there’s one rapper in particular who’s talent level is so advanced that any debate or discussion around his county line credentials or legitimacy as a gunman must come secondary to discussions regarding his striking ability.
Hailing from Norword – South London – enter Teeway, who’s punchlines and percussive vocal style has been a breathe of fresh air and given the Drill scene – on a lyrical level – a much needed injection of artistry and innovation
“They was on school trips skiing, when my 10-10 was in human beings…”
– Teeway (Anglo Saxon 2018)
I’ve had Teeway on rinse for the last couple months with the replay value from his addictive wordplay being unrivaled among his peers. Bars like “we took the ride no talking, silent power, Stephen Hawkin”… outline his maverick quality. When you take him in it’s impossible to ignore the metaphors, the rapid rhyming patterns, the punchlines and the floating yet furious flows that glide across his flawless beat selections. It’s been a longtime since someone had this degree of consistency and it was reassuring that although the Drill scene has been saturated with a lot of the same old splash, ching and ten toes talk, there’s someone out there bucking the trend, swerving all the cliches and resetting the levels.
“Hit OT with pack of the rock and made my ting pop like jack in the box…”
– Teeway (Honda Civ, 2019)
Teeway’s available catalogue is limited to only a handful of releases, but in his short career so far he’s bagged a slot on the TopBoy soundtrack, dropped his inaugural freestyle for Mixtape Madness and followed up with his recent BBC Radio 1Xtra appearance with Kenny Allstars given him a solid co-sign to take into the new year. Little is known about the South London rapper as it stands as his swift ascent over the last 6 months has passed a lot of people by, but closing the year off with yet another solid release strongly suggests that if he can stay out of trouble, the likes of J Hus, Dave and the rest of our top flight and highly skilled rappers will have another General sitting at the table in the not too distant future.
Teeway comes into the fold at a time when the Drill sound has evolved and changed quite a bit since the likes of 150, 67 and the roster of original Drillers touched YouTube back in the first quarter of the decade. “The Drill scene’s changed. The beats are different to the ones we was rapping on in 2016… and the way people rap. I think it’s faster. Same greaze, just different flows…”. An opinion reflected by the Harlem Spartan OG Blanco in his recent interview with Tim Westwood.
The slower paced ad lib style associated with the original dons is significantly less popular today, with the fast rapid-fire style more commonly associated with Grime MC’s taking precedent. Personally, I’m partial to the slower style, but with not much happening in Grime outside of Wiley and Dot Rotten seemingly determined to clash absolutely everyone, the change in direction within the Drill scene along with MC’s like Teeway’s contributions to raising the bar may bridge the gap between the two worlds and yield some interesting results in the new year. But I guess we’ll have to wait and see…
To be continued…
POSTED BY: @TIMI.WATSONROSE