Two drill artists have been given suspended sentences for “performing drill music” after officials said it breached an injunction.
Skengdo and AM, real names Terrell Doyley and Joshua Malinga, were said to have performed drill music which “incited violence” against rival gang members. The injunction was originally made against the duo in August of last year because they were allegedly members of a gang in south London.
Both men pleaded guilty to breaking the injunction at Croydon County Court and the two were sentenced to nine months in jail, suspended for two years.
In a statement, The Metropolitan Police said the injunction “was breached when they performed drill music that incited and encouraged violence against rival gang members and then posted it on social media.”
However, their manager, speaking to the Press Association, denied that the two were involved in any gang violence. He said the video was uploaded to social media without their knowledge. Both artists have previously performed at Reading and Leeds festivals and have appeared on 1Xtra.
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.
Signing the petition, one supporter, Bradley Fenn, wrote: “Give them a chance in media instead of taking the chance away from them. Also, it’s a passion for them in making music and nobody is getting hurt while they make music – so there is no point to ban them from making music.”
Another, Rebecca Leech, added: “In the 50’s and 60’s it was rock music. Now it’s this. Get real.”
Yemi Abiade, Editor of Dummy Magazine, told the Independent: “Ignoring these problems breeds contempt, giving birth to more violence. Regardless of London’s murder rate, drill will continue to offer a voice to those without one because, for many of them, it’s all they have to survive.”
Explaining the police, a Youtube spokesman said that they were only tackling videos in breach of their guidelines. They said: “Along with others in the UK, we share the deep concern about this issue and do not want our platform used to incite violence.”
Last year, Dizzee Rascal voiced his support for UK drill music producers. 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…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.”