Well, someone’s got to bring us back together with Europe, so why not Brixton heroes Skengdo X AM? The drill duo have recruited the best fellow drillers from Ireland, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands to shed light on the rising scenes in Europe. With every feature, Skengdo x AM show off the popularity of drill and reveal how much more potential the genre still has, regardless of its worldwide success.
‘Wap On E’ sees our drill veterans bringing their A game. Even if he’s rapping solely in Dutch, Rotterdam rapper Blacka’s cadence suits the eerie production typical of drill. Blacka is a kingpin on the beat, his cocksure approach bringing real attitude to the track. Add that cadence to AM’s expert flowing skills, plus Skengdo’s wittiness – see: “The skeng come pretty ‘pon anyside / Come sweet like one brown’in” – and you’ve got magic. You might come away from ‘Wap on E’ convinced that the Netherlands will be the next drill scene to blow up.
Then again, on this evidence, the Swedish and Irish drill scenes seem just as promising. Drogheda’s Offica, who jumps on ‘Glance’, seems unperturbed by the scrutiny non-London rappers receive for their accents. He proudly showcases his Irish twang when he beams: “These bad Bs love to dance / They come from Spain, Italy, France”.
Stockholm’s Robbz X Brookz prove on ‘Gucci Man’ that they might be the next Skengdo X AM. They go back and forth over the trap-infused track, their sense of brotherhood palpable. The former’s tone is gruff and domineering, the latter’s more idiosyncratic; they’re a pairing as enjoyably odd as the Brixton duo themselves.
Exposing fresh rising talents in Europe to the UK, Skengdo X AM prove themselves as perfect drill ambassadors. There are no explicit manifestos here, but this mixtape is political without having outright political messaging, showing – away from the violent gangs and crime that the media portrays – how inclusive drill can be.
Release date: 21st February 2020
Record label: Finesse Foreva