Drill Music – The Urban Punks Causing Moral Panic

Written by Jason Disley
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Like many parents from all generations since the Second World War - I worry about the music and cultures that my children are drawn to.
The current fear is Drill music. I can't help myself I simply do not like what it represents. However, I do realise it is a product of our time. Its young people trying to find something creative in a nation that has turned its back on them. The establishment is scared of it, these Urban Punks, are causing a moral panic in the same way as the young of previous generations made their parents scared of Rock and Roll, Metal, Punk, Acid House, etc, and any form of music that they did not understand.

 I have a son that listens to Drill music. I wish he didn't. I play tons of different genres in the house hoping something will inspire him. But, no. This music he identifies with. Not because he comes from a broken home on a bleak estate where there are gangs of youths. But because he feels let down by society. Education is under extreme pressure because there are not the right levels of resources. The NHS is under even greater pressure because it can not cope with the rising number of children that have mental health problems, or personality disorders etc. These young people do have it hard these days, and the pc brigade has made it difficult to cope with dealing with the current wave of angry young men. What is the answer? I do not know. I read an article on The Guardian website. Not a site I would normally look at – but I was drawn to the article by its title: Don’t censor drill music, listen to what it’s trying to tell us by writer and Youth Worker Ciaran Thapar.

It makes very valid points about censorship and ostracising those drawn to this culture. People like my son, are easily seduced into the culture by the syncopated rhythms, the clever use of media and a language that those outside gang culture do not fully understand. We need these youths to be listened to, and with better understanding offer the right sort of help where needed. Knife crime has become epidemic. Gang culture, although not new is now very visible. This Government isn't investing in futures or at least not in inclusive futures. It is lining its pockets and grinding down the poor. Is it any wonder that these - a new crop of angry Poets and wordsmiths are spouting such hateful rhymes? To be honest not all Drill is as bad as we think. There is a lot of that wanting a better life going on in their "bars", a term given for the lines in their lyrics, it is just usually at the expense of others. Something that has been modelled by those in power. Drill is - as pointed out – is the latest in a long list of music that older generations don't understand. It may well have less merit than a lot of other musical genres. But in reality. It's the voice of a generation that needs to be listened to and guided towards positives rather than negatives. My point is, I wish to understand what can be done to improve things - so that good changes can come, and not the bleakness that seems to be on an ever nearer horizon. I want to see happy youngsters with opportunity. The irony is. The Drill artists themselves are making opportunities for themselves. But they are the Lucky ones really. Because, for every one that gets the recognition he craves, thousands more are not. For, there are many youngsters that are not creative. Instead, they are bored and angry. Something we glibly put down to the fact most are teenagers. Oh, it's their hormones blah blah blah. Well no. Its the fact that we do not listen to our young people properly. Job prospects are dire in so many places, and many of this young generation are not armed with the relevant skills to succeed. I worry about their future...

I am known as a poet myself and recognise the cleverness that is being wasted by negative views of these young men. (Drill is a mainly Male culture. Although I am sure there are some young girls drawn to the culture too.) The subject matter of many Drill songs are about gang rivalries and having “Beef” with someone. It is often promoting violence, knife carrying, being misogynistic and showing off what possessions they have. From clothes to vehicles etc. The last of which is synonymous of all young subcultures and British tribes that have been around in the past. It is the violence that is causing the moral panic. They are angry and are quite insular, not wanting to let us in and understand. Yet their words are clever and rhymes flow in a manner that is typical of Oral histories. Things are dark. The future is uncertain, and these gangs of young men are revealing themselves in ways that we need to at least try to understand. Then maybe there will be less knife crime, unnecessary casualties, and a chance for optimism to return.
Here are two poems inspired by what I see happening today.

Hey my Driller!

Hey my Driller!

Said the latest Killer Diller in the Canada Goose and Airforce One's
His Gucci striped scarf only revealing maverick eyes.
His bars spitting naive lines.
As he tried to work out life's riddle
Whilst trying not to crease his creps in their pristine middle.
The riddle
That others see as their offensive drivel.

The breaking point
Anger that we deserve
For we have not learned the lessons of the past.

To me
In Language - That is clear
Then everyone can replace the fear with a knowledge.
Disenfranchised youth
Will spit and be uncouth
Because they feel they have nothing to lose.
Who cares?

Only those that prey and monopolise discomfort?
Using tactics of dictatorship in cliques of deprivation?
Oh, what horrors!
Future becoming
Darker by the day
Because their world is not one
In which even they wish to play.

©Jason Disley

Knife Crime

Something rife is going on
It's the Slaughter of someone’s son
Someone's knife is going in.
It's stabbing someone's kin
I mean stabbing!
Really - what the fuck?
Why are we wading through this muck?
Slice dice and stab!
Slice dice and Stab!
Yes there has been yet another stabbing.
Then the dabbing
I don't mean like a football stars salute
I mean the tears of loved ones as they mourn another lost son, brother or lover...
Why is knife crime rife among the young?
Tell me once more
What has gone wrong?
This life's rhyme
Has become a poem
About knife crime.
It's not to be trivialised
For it is real
This is to those frightened and confused
A real big deal.
Peer pressure and defence
The anger that causes offence.
Posturing on street corners
Trying to fit in
Showing that you are not scared
But really you are. Because the life you lead is not actually your chosen one.
Poverty and despair
A need to fit in with the
Then territorial disputes and a
Gang life

Safety in numbers?
That's a laugh.
For there will always be moments where you are alone.
Slicing and dicing with death.

Leave the blades at home boys
Leave the blades at home.
Shake off this shit
And show that you have grown into real men -
Who knows that only cowards use knives
And are misunderstanding their sorry lives.
Wisdom arrives too late when you bleed.
And those left behind are also scarred.
Don’t let the next generation defeat themselves.
Instead give them futures worth living
And a mutual respect.
Or we will all be living in a Ghost Town one day.

©Jason Disley
Read 3243 times Last modified on Friday, 08 February 2019 16:33
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Jason Disley

Jason Disley

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