How Drill Is Flourishing In Different Parts Of The World: Kumasi, Ghana.
Drill music is, to say the least, a cultural marvel. With its incredible uniqueness in storytelling and compelling sounds and imagery, it has caused negative and positive attention that has only further grown its popularity. Drill is essentially quite a new genre so If you're a bit of a Drill rookie, let's take you back to basics on where it all began. It started with Trap music coming into play during the 90s from artists such as Three 6 Mafia. Drill essentially came from Trap, which came from Rap. As music adapted and Trap started to really blossom around the early 2000s in states like Atlanta, there have been many aspects of that particular type of sound that now influence mainstream Rap and Pop tracks in the charts. Whilst Trap is produced with bursting drums, 808s and flickering hi-hats, other sounds including string instruments play a more sinister sound, or an eerie piano chime. Trap tends to side with a charismatic voice over lyrical content and structure.
But much more recently, Drill started to become a much more popular theme around 2011 when artists from Chicago emerged with a much more dark and menacing sound with their music. Even though Drill was derivative from Trap that had a more southern impression, Drill from Chicago was sullen whilst rappers would tell stories about how life is in their neighbourhood. If you listen to the beat of 'Stay Fly' by Three 6 Mafia, you can hear the repetitive ticking and dreary looping string instrument in the back which could be reminiscent of those looping drum patterns you would hear in a track such as 'Only You Freestyle' by Headie One featuring Drake, with that track's 'looping string' being a harmonising female vocal choir, giving the same effect. Even though there is obviously a different tempo, the similarities with the hi-hat patterns for example or the choir replacing the looping string are kind of noticeable between these two tracks.
With London Drill storming through to steal the scene back in 2013, up until now, the US and UK are constantly battling to see who can come out on top; who has the better beats and bars? With artists such as Headie One, K-Trap, Skengdo & AM, Ivorian Doll or Shaybo dominating the views counter, we also see heavily talented US Drill artists such as Chief Keef, Polo G or the late Pop Smoke battle them in the hopes of being able to bring back a crown for their city. But one thing a lot of people didn't consider, is how Drill is reaching other places in the world who might be giving these artists a run for their money. Ghana, is one of them.
Starting with the increasingly popular track 'SORE' by Yaw Tog featuring O`kenneth, City Boy, Reggie and Jay bahd, it's scooped up over 20,000 views on YouTube in just 2 days and literally went viral over night, gaining thousands of retweets and likes across Twitter. The track, released under Living Life Records and produced by Chris Rich, not only features those iconic dark and dingy underlying 808s, uneven patterns of looping drums but definitely feels like it came straight out of Brixton itself.
With each feature presenting their own style, there is a mixture of what both the states and London do best when it came to making this track. In terms of lyrical content there are constant punchlines and a mixture of sung verses alongside more hard-hitting bars, including Jay Bhad's distinct raspy voice that a lot of people have compared to Pop Smoke. As Ghana is a multilingual country, with its first language being English, there is another dialect mixed in within the track that I wish I could understand but it is noticeable that they have their own slang and lingo from their town of Kumasi. With the word 'Kumerica' floating around the track and in the title, according to social media, the habitants of the Ashanti Region within the city of Kumasi are now calling themselves Kumericans. Kumerican/Kumasi Drill is called Asakaa.
To add to the hype that Ghana are tending to, a duo who have recently skyrocketed to the scene would be G4 Boyz, brothers of Nigerian and Ghanaian descent from New York's Staten Island who blew up onto the scene with their song 'Local Scammer' featuring G4 Choppa which premiered on World Star Hip Hop and later got a remix with Chief Keef. Kumasi natives have even confirmed that their Drill music scene has been further inspired by artists such as Pop Smoke who started out in NYC.
Social media once again is helping these artists from small towns gain some popularity. Musicians such as Kawabanga, who is steadily rising on the scene with his track 'Akatafoc' featuring O'Kenneth, Reggie and Jay Bahd, has also been doing numbers on YouTube with many people surprised that Ghana has now decided to take part within the Drill scene, and it is pretty new with some people mentioning that it's been on the rise within the last two years. Do you think Kumasi musicians have a chance against the USA and UK when it comes to Drill? They might need a little more time to become seasoned like us but it's safe to say they are definitely on the right track.