Dizzee Rascal has voiced his support for UK drill music producers following the genre being linked to violent crime in the media and by authorities.
The British strand of the genre, which originated in the south side of Chicago earlier this decade, has been blamed for increases in gang violence in the UK. Earlier this year, Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick cited it as a reason for a rise in knife crime in London and got YouTube to delete over 30 music videos.
The Daily Mail, meanwhile, has published several stories linking drill music and gang violence, claiming the genre is “fuelling London’s crime wave.” Last month, they published an article criticising Rascal for posting about a drill track he liked while calling for an end to violence on his Instagram feed.
Speaking to Julie Adenuga on Beats 1 on Apple Music, Rascal said: “I’m not really going to defend anyone’s lyrics. If you say you’re going to lick man down, it is what it is. But that beat is doing a lot for me. And I still need to meet these producers and find out how you twisting that bassline like that cos I still don’t know how to do it.”
Discussing the production of the tracks, he continued: “I see – especially the producers – them as pioneers. I’m still here looking at it fully as a musical [thing]. I’m not here to defend anyone’s words or shoot-outs.”
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Speaking about the Mail‘s criticism of him, he said: “If you felt that I was inciting or promoting that kind of behaviour, fair enough. You can call me out on that. But then when you just start linking a 73-year-old woman’s murder and don’t even go into it and explain why, I feel like that’s dangerous.
“The more of that that goes on, you leave room for people to abuse [drill artists] and get away with manipulating things. If people think that these guys are just beating up and killing old people, no one’s gonna have no sympathy when people start abusing their power on them.”
Earlier this year, London drill group 1011 were issued a court order that banned them from making music without the police’s permission. Five members of the group must now seek permission from Scotland Yard before recording or performing music, and have been banned from writing lyrics which “encourage violence.”