Over the past year, UK drill records have been topping the charts left, right and centre. Charts that would usually have been taken up by icons like Drake, Kehlani and Dua Lipa are now getting an earful of Central Cee, Dave and D-Block Europe. This newfound revolution of British artistry is growing at top speed across Canada and the US, and it looks like the trendy tunes might be here to stay.
UK drill music is a subgenre of drill music and road rap that originated in London back in 2012. Since then, the musical style has gained traction, amassing hundreds of fans and putting many new local artists on the brink of fame.
One of the complications with drill, however, is that usually support for local talent is slim unless there is a bigger association tied to it. In this case, individuals are more reluctant to support no-name artists than someone like Drake or Pop Smoke, per se, who are both well-known artists that have incorporated UK drill and grime into their songs and features. This resulted in UK artists sitting on the sidelines up until just recently. Now, it’s safe to say that this is a pivotal time for any growing UK-based artist striving to take on more.
So how exactly did UK rappers get their footing? The social media app Tiktok played a large part in their growth. For a few years now, the TikTok community has been keen on embracing UK rap through their discovery #Rap campaign. Through this hashtag, users are able to brand new content each month, placing emphasis on up and coming UK artists, in hopes of truly spotlighting this vibrant genre. Once an influencer uses your sound, or, in this case, song, the chances of you going viral heighten, which was exactly the case with Central Cee and Arr Dee.
Since having created an international fanbase, British artists have been thriving—and so have we. Although Toronto is home to many hiphop and rap lovers, this perfect combination of heavy lyrics, menacing basslines and aesthetics is hard to resist—especially when performed with a thick British accent. Needless to say, a cross between grime, rap and Afrobeats has never sounded so good.
While British artists have been living in the shadows of their US counterparts for years, these creatives are now seeing their hard work pay off. Somewhere in the middle of making their big break on Soundcloud to being weeks away from performing at Toronto’s first ever Rolling Loud Music Festival, they’ve finally been given the recognition they deserve.