By Keanna Ward
April 28, 2020 10:00pm

         Hip-hop, rap, trap, and now drill has become more than a movement in the music industry, it’s another element of identity that serves as a voice for the culture within.  Now, by all means, drill music is no new genre, but it is one that has reemerged onto radio and streaming platforms. Some would say that the resurgence of drill music took place in 2019 by rappers like Sheff G, Chief Keef G.Herbo, Lil Durk, Polo G. Katie Got Bandz, Fredo Santana, Young Chop, Sasha Gottard and Drake.  However, the late Brooklyn raised rapper by the name of Pop Smoke transcend the genre with his sound and massive growled “husky-like” voice.

A quick history lesson on trap music that sparked drill, in particular, will direct you to the hustlers on the streets of Atlanta, Georgia. One hustler of those streets was also an artist that went by the name of T.I., and who is recognized as the originator of trap music.  He first references the term on his sophomore album called Trap Muzik.  In 2012, drill music was introduced to the world as a sub-genre of trap music. Though surprisingly, drill music is different from trap and originated in the south-side of Chicago then migrated into the music scene of New York, London, and even Ireland. Drill music in Chicago consisted of a unique sound that included lyricist narration of dark violent crime that takes place within the communities. 

The genre was also influenced in the early 2000s by Gucci Mane, Lil Wayne; and producers Lex Luger, Zaytoven, and Shawty Red. In 2019, Brooklyn native, Pop Smoke born “Bashar Jackson” rise to fame put him and the resurgence of drill music on the map.  The rapper made the genre significant again when he teamed with UK producer 808Melo to collab on his first album called Meet the Woo.  Pop Smoke, flew Melo to New York City and recorded a few hits after discovering him on YouTube.  Melo brought his UK style of drums and bass with a much slower cadence to the New York underground scene.  They later produce “Dior” and Pop Smoke biggest hit “Welcome to the Party” that peaked weeks on the Billboard Top 100.  Unfortunately, on February 19, 2020, rapper Pop Smoke was murdered at his home in Hollywood, California after releasing his second mixtape a week prior to his death. 

In essence, drill music is the voice of many hustlers, disenfranchised, and underserved communities who have to trap and drill for survival.

Works Cited

Caramanica, J. (2019, September 6). The Rapid Rise of Pop Smoke, Brooklyn Rap’s Homecoming King. Retrieved from NY Times :

Gannon, C. (2019, December 3). Pop Smoke’s London pilgrimage . Retrieved from The Face :

Giordano’s. (2016, November 2). The Rich History of Chicago Rap Music . Retrieved from Giordano’s :

Mangum, T. (2020, February 19). What’s Drill Music, the Hip-Hop Genre Popularized by Pop Smoke and Others? Retrieved from Showbiz CheatSheet: