London murder rate surge blamed on drill music

Music is being blamed as a cause for violence in London, where knife crime is on the rise. But kids aren't given a fair hearing and music is just the messenger.

Lydia Morrish
Lydia Morrish NewsMavens, Europe
London murder rate surge blamed on drill music - NewsMavens
knife, Pixabay

Why this story matters:

Drill music, a style of trap music that originated in Chicago, is being blamed for the surge in London’s murder rate. But the truth is more complex, my colleague Linh Nguyen writes.

Often characterized by its violent overtones and dark subject matter, drill rests on a narrative of gang rivalries. Drill videos are also usually shot in grubby council estates instead of in the leather seats of flashy, expensive cars. None of it is glamorous.

However, London's police commissioner said the sub-genre is amplifying and glamorizing violence.

A hot topic in the UK right now, commentators and members of the public are also blaming music for the surge in knife crime. As a potential solution, some are suggesting kids take self-defence classes.

Others contend that the connections made between knives and gangs and music in the mainstream media is oversimplified, and that the music is violent because these musicians' lives are violent.

For some kids who may be vulnerable to gang life, it's just about the music. And better them have music than any kind of weapon, whether that's a knife or worse.

Details from the story:

  • This year alone, London has been the site of an estimated 60 murders. As has now been widely reported, its murder rate recently surpassed New York’s. Most of the victims, and perpetrators, are young, black males.
  • A London judge specifically referenced the specter of drill music leading to knife violence, when when three south London men received life sentences for the stabbing murder of 15-year-old Jermaine Goupall.
  • Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has said platforms used by the drill community, particularly Youtube and Snapchat, glamorize and amplify violence.
  • Despite the public concern over gangs, the majority of knife crime isn’t gang-related.
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