There’s a reason I chose the words “Stoicism in Lyricism” for this post. First of all, they are accurate representations of the artist in question and secondly, they are a description that this young artist probably hasn’t received for his music… as of yet, I’m sure he will in future. Quite by accident, the initials of these two words also represent the name… Still don’t know who I’m talking about?
I’m talking about one of the shining lights in Britain’s biggest “problem” genre. The genre that was called to be banned by middle England, the bastard children of Blair’s Britain, and the scourge of the middle class idyll. I’m talking about Drill and the lyrical excellence that is SL.
the British class system is an invisible prison
An outsider looking in at drill music would see the headlines. Major UK media corporations slating the genre for its use of violent slang, references to gang culture and militant ideologies. The “problem” as it has been so eagerly placed, in my opinion does not lie with drill at all… We can learn a lot from this music regardless of background, income or upbringing. The only question is whether you will choose to listen?
How is SL and Drill Music Authentic?
I can’t relate to SL’s bars with my environment or indeed through my middle class upbringing, but I can respect the hustle as a human being. Whether that hustle is providing for a family, making money on the street or even more trivial things like hitting a deadline. There are some things we have to do in life, not because we love them but because we have to get out… We have to win, get ahead and survive. We have to get out of the environments which will destroy us and we have to rise above our troubles and live with them… modern day stoics one day at a time.
We never done this cuz we love this, If you think so, your confused, Nah we done this cuz we must win, So we did what we gotta do,SL : Mad About Africa (Part 2)
I can only speak for myself but some of the more traumatic experiences I’ve had in my life have led to the most personal growth… those bars have stuck with me since the moment I heard them “we never done this cuz we love this, we done this cuz we must win.” Every time your lacing up your running shoes for that early morning run that you really don’t want to do, think of these profound words. It’s not love that drives you… Its survival. How important is it for you to succeed? If it’s a matter of life and death what will stop you?
SL is an artist who has achieved a lot, at just eighteen years of age the mysterious rapper has already surpassed 100 million streams with a handful of early mix tapes. To treat SL as nothing more than another drill artists would be lazy, he’s a pioneer. Establishing himself and creating what is referred to as “tropical” drill, he’s more than just another ballied up rapper with something to say. His music is sign of the times and a sign of things to come. Above all, SL is an individual in a genre saturated with gangs and crews. SL stands alone as an artist, sonically and literally.
Drill and Culture
Success in drill, grime, garage or indeed any genre of music out there is achievable. Many artists from inner city environments, most notably grime artists, have been very successful. The likes of Bugzy Malone and Krept & Konan have have all escaped an otherwise bleak reality through the vehicle of music. These artists are vocal about supporting drill musicians and see the music as a way of keeping the youth off the streets, which is where the majority of violent crime happens.
The United Kingdom is a place full of division and fractured communities, and this must come to light. Two British lives could be completely different… all this depends upon is flimsy sociological identities, financial constraints and geographical location. There’s no place for such inequality in a country which possesses such an inflated, politically correct opinion of itself. Middle England is oblivious… In fact, I would go further and say middle England has chosen to ignore the cries of Britain’s marginalised communities. The slash in funding for programmes like youth clubs is perhaps a more realistic explanation for a rise in violent crime, not drill music. Banning drill is laziness, an offhand and easy scapegoat for violence, pain and suffering. Drill is not the problem. Rappers are spitting about their realities, their day to day struggles which are ever prevalent in metropolitan Britain. Drill MC’s like SL aren’t the ones wearing the masks, the members of the public who choose to ignore these problems are the ones disguised. Banning drill will achieve nothing, it will simply silence the cries for help and prevent young artists creating new realities through their music. Banning drill will not alleviate or intensify suffering… It will simply just silence it, these realities exist whether you choose to listen or not. Pretending not to know, is no solution to a problem.
We can all learn a valuable lesson, regardless of our upbringing or location, from SL. The words he uses seem to rise above his years. They suit someone who has lived experiences that have caused an adaptation and evolution of character. The messages are mature and extremely wise, resting on the young shoulders of one of Britain’s most authentic musicians. SL is proof that UK drill is an extremely important element of Britain’s culture… A culture that needs to be heard an element of our culture which has been silenced for too long.
What do you think about UK drill music? Let me know down in the comments section below of this post…