Although drill music has become a popular subgenre of hip-hop, its success has sparked a great deal of controversy. An example of this was a report on Thursday in which at least three drilling music rappers were removed from this weekend’s Rolling Loud festival in New York.

New York Times reported that representatives of rappers Sha Eka, Ron Suno and 22Gz said the artists were withdrawn from the hip-hop festival program at the request of police. No official announcements were made regarding the alleged removal of artists from the event, although a similar situation occurred in 2019 after the New York Police (NYPD) notified organizers that it wanted several artists to be removed from this year’s Rolling Loud roster. 22Gz was among those removed in 2019, as were popular rappers Pop Smoke (died in 2020), Casanova and Sheff G.

Drilling music has also been heavily scrutinized by officials such as New York City Mayor Eric Adams and UK law enforcement agencies who have cracked down on online platforms providing this type of music.

However, despite appearing in news headlines, many people may not be very familiar with exercise music.

Above, rapper Pop Smoke performs onstage at the Rolling Loud Festival at the Banc of California Stadium on December 15, 2019 in Los Angeles. Many drill music rappers (not including Pop Smoke) have been banned from this weekend’s Rolling Loud festival in New York.
Photo: Scott Dudelson / Getty Images

What is exercise music?

Drill’s origins date back to Chicago in early 2010. Lyrically, the hip-hop sub-genre is the closest to gangsta rap, and often contains violent allusions. The musical accompaniment is similar to trap music, although it is often played at a slower pace.

In 2012, AllHipHop wrote that the term “drill” was first used in connection with a new style of music by the late Chicago rapper Pacman. The website said Chicago veteran hip-hop duo LEP Bogus Boyz explained that “drill” is a slang term “that can be used for anything from women getting f*cked to a whole war in the streets.”

Chief Keef and Lil Durk were among the first Chicago artists to break into the mainstream through contracts with major labels. Kanye West was an early drill promoter, saying it influenced his 2013 album Yeezuswhich included Chief Keef’s vocals.

Drill quickly spread eastward, and rappers of the genre became popular in New York City.

Brooklyn rappers Bobby Shmurda and Rowdy Rebel were the first to excel in the city. Other commune artists who later became successful were Sheff G, 22Gz and Fivio Foreign. Among the most famous Brooklyn rappers was Pop Smoke, who was m*rdered by a group of men in 2020.

Posthumous debut studio album Pop Smoke –Shoot the stars, aim for the moon –was produced by 50 Cent and resulted in the hit single “For the Night”, which hit the top 10, starring DaBaby and Lil Baby.

Despite the genre’s success, drill music has become extremely controversial due to well-publicized acts of violence such as the Pop Smoke m*rder, and many popular hip-hop DJs have stopped playing it.

Newsweek contacted the NYPD for comment regarding Rolling Loud.

Mayor Adams speaks to drill music

Earlier this year, drill rappers CHII WVTTZ and TDott Woo were killed in several days of shootings. Mayor Adams reacted by condemning drill music and linking it to gun violence.

“The problem is that aggressive people who use drill rapping to publicize who they killed and then antagonize the people they intend to kill are the problem,” the mayor told reporters in February.

However, a few days later, Adams met a group of drilling rappers. The parties involved then characterized the meeting as a positive conversation about music and its relationship to violence in the city.

Music drills in different parts of the world

Drilling music found an audience not only in the United States. Artists from Russia, Spain and Australia have made Drill’s music available online.

Exercise has become so popular in the UK that Amazon Prime will soon be introducing a six-part scenario series that chronicles the London scene. Titled Junglepremiere of the performance on September 30.

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