The history of Drill begins in Chicago long before Chief Keef released his first tracks. According to Culture, the first Drill songs emerged before the 2010s, even before Keith Cozart unveiled his two iconic mixtapes, “The Glory Road” and “Bang.” Drill music originates from the gang culture of Chicago, featuring a monotonous flow, explicitly explicit lyrics, and more stuttering instrumental compositions compared to its cousin, Trap.
The history of Drill in Chicago: the official starting point!
It was Chief Keef‘s track “I Don’t Like” in 2012 that sparked the Drill Music movement in his city. Following this, he signed a 6-million-dollar deal with Interscope, while Lil Reese and Lil Durk signed with Def Jam. Both Lil Reese and Lil Durk are members of Keef’s crew.
With his debut album, “Finally Rich,” the rapper had a rather disappointing start, selling only 50,000 copies in the first week. According to Pitchfork magazine, most observers suggest that the consumption of Drill Music is based on “street clips” and streaming. In the early 2012, sales calculation methods were different. Even today in France, Drill Music from artists like 1Plik140, Ash 22, Lyonzon, Freeze Corleone, and Ziak is popularized on YouTube.
Today, there are nearly 300 artists in Chicago who can be labeled as Drill. The influence of Chief Keef is undeniably significant.
The history of Drill UK: From grime to drill!
While Drill was born in Chicago, it could have spread to cities like Detroit or Baltimore, but it found its greatest resonance in England. Observers point to the first UK Drill tracks in 2012/2013, coinciding with Chief Keef making his mark with “I Don’t Like.” For many, the official starting point of the movement would be the track “Kennington Where It Started” by the Harlem Spartans. Since that day, the movement has moved out of the underground and comfortably settled into the mainstream.
Although they share a similar explicit lyrical style, there are some differences between Chicago Drill and UK Drill. Listening to artists like Headie One, who has stated that he doesn’t consider himself a drill rapper, one can perceive that UK Drill gives more emphasis to vocal delivery, and its message tends to be more militant.
According to several newspapers, UK Drill had a significant influence on New York Drill through artists like Pop Smoke, who collaborated extensively with UK giants before exporting the wave to New York. The Independent didn’t hesitate to claim that Pop Smoke brought UK Drill to New York.
The history of Drill in France!
Did Kaaris bring Trap to France? Some also say that the rapper from Sevran composed a track close to Drill with “Ciroc,” from his album “Or Noir.” There’s also mention of the song “Pronostic” by Kalash Criminel, as cited by Redbull magazine. “Ciroc” was released in 2013, just one year after Chief Keef laid the foundations of this new phenomenon. Ixzo, another rapper from Sevran, also clearly expresses his Drill intentions with tracks like “Molly.“
Then, with artists like Lyonzon, Freeze Corleone, Ash 22, Negrito, and Ziak, the Drill movement gains more and more momentum. Similar to the UK, Drill in France starts with street clips and then continues to thrive on streaming platforms. French Drill rappers remain true to the spirit of Chicago Drill. The discourse and imagery are borrowed from American gang culture. And now, with flagbearers like Gazo and others, Drill is making its presence felt everywhere: “Drill is the new black.”