"Drill Music Is Being Scapegoated" - 67's Dimzy Pens Must-Read Open Letter In The Latest YO! MTV Raps
"As long as music can be an outlet and a form of therapy to those that create it, then it will always be a positive."
Dimzy, from rap collective 67, reads a powerful new open letter about how Drill music is being unfairly blamed for youth violence, in the latest episode of YO! MTV Raps.
So far in 2018, the number of young people stabbed to death in England and Wales has reached the highest level for eight years. It’s a bleak fact. But what’s responsible?
Britain’s tabloids have, wrongly, placed the blame on Drill music. For example, the Daily Mail blamed the "disturbing new form of British rap" for a "surge in gang killings".
Drill, a relative of the American genre of the same name, does not airbrush life’s intersections of violence and bravado - a reality many young people living in London’s outskirts experience in day in, day out. It can be graphic, hence why some quarters think it’s glamorising gang violence.
But this is missing the point: Drill music is not trying to glamorise violence. It’s trying to document it.
Dimzy, along with the rest of rap collective 67 (ASAP, LD, Monkey, SJ and Liquez), wanted to use their time on the latest episode of YO! MTV Raps to address the issue.
"[The open letter] is to make everyone understand that drill is a reaction to daily life in London,” Dimzy said. “[Drill musicians] are talking about life as they see it and experiences they have been through, the same as any other artist tends to in any other genre."
WATCH DIMZY'S YO! MTV RAPS OPEN LETTER PIECE HERE:
The full open letter can be read in full below.
Dimzy’s open letter, in full:
"Of late there there have been a large number of negative articles and opinions centred around Drill music.
"Whilst I see that media need to give the general public answers, and authorities have to publicly be seen to do something about violence and crime, I don’t think it is right to blame one music genre as a scapegoat.
"There have been many occasions in history where this has happened before including the Punk era and even most recently with Grime - a genre that is now hugely supported by media and creating some of the UK’s biggest musical exports.
"As drill is a relatively ’new’ genre of music, you tend to find a lot of the people involved in it are young so I personally am not surprised by the content of the music. They are talking about life as they see it and experiences they have been through, the same as any other artist tends to in any other genre.
"I can’t speak for everyone else but from my experience, doing Drill music has positively changed my life in so many ways. I can contribute to help my family financially. I’ve explored different cities & towns, indulged in different cultures, tasted different food and met different types of people who live all different types of lifestyles with different beliefs.
"I’ve learnt so much in the past few years doing music that I can now pass my knowledge and experience onto others. I can help other artists and producers to have a more consistent and knowledgeable journey in the industry. As long as music can be an outlet and a form of therapy to those that create it, then it will always be a positive."
"Another thing about drill music that we have to remember is, they’re not the first and they’re not gonna be the last [to be scapegoated],” said Poet, co-host of YO! MTV Raps, in response to Dimzy’s open letter.
"What 67 do, I genuinely believe is art. It’s a very difficult thing to do, otherwise everyone would be able to do it - I can’t do that - so that’s their way of expressing themselves and their struggles. And the beauty about that is that it’s an eye opener. I’m inspired."
The worrying rise in violence in 2018 cannot, as Dimzy argues, be solely down to one genre of music. Surely having fewer police on the streets compared to a decade ago, to budget cuts in essential youth services, and more, have a bigger part to play?
What do you think?
To see the segment in full, make sure to tune in to YO! MTV Raps, hosted by Poet and Snoochie Shy, Tuesday at 11pm on MTV.