Though Drill music has been popular in Chicago for some times, it didn’t become popular with rest of the world until rap artist Chief Keef became famous though songs such as ‘3Hunna’ ‘Bang’ and one of his most popular songs to date ‘I Don’t Like’ around 2012. The media soon started focusing on the drill scene from Chicago which led to numerous drill rappers being signed by record companies such as Lil Durk and Lil Reese being signed to Def Jam, both whom are Chief Keef’s associates. Drill music has also come under heavy scrutiny from the media due to its lyrics being associated to the high crime rate plaguing Chicago.
The word ‘drill’ was first used by Chicago rapper Pacman and originally meant to retaliate according to his cousin Fatzmack. According to L.E.P. Bogus Boyz the word can mean a wide range of things, from having sex with a girl, to going to war in the streets. It’s fair to say the word there’s no definite explanation for the word.
There’s no single trait that can be used to characterized Drill music, it varies from artist to artist, and the fact that it’s fairly new means it’s being changed on a daily basis as new artists from different part of the country add their own touch to it. Though no single trait can characterize drill music, there are certain elements that are present in most of them, and one of those elements is violence. The majority of drill music songs tend to contain certain elements of criminality from that rapper’s life, for instance,Chief Keef whom is member of the Black Disciples gang often talk about his gang’s activities, in songs such as “John Madden” he says “We MAke Bullets rain, F*ck tooka gang - Sosa flex, He dont wanna get hit with That Tech - My n*ggas next - If we anit eating that sh*t, Is dead - That n*gga Dead, F*ck around with my hittas Mann”.
Chicago is marred by gangs and guns, thus it comes to no surprise that most drill songs are heavily influenced by the gang life and the gun culture in Chicago. Many Drill rappers are known to call out and taunt their rival gangs in their lyrics, an example would in the above quote where Chief Keef says “F*ck tooka gang”, he’s actually dissing their rival gang “Tooka Gang” which is a set of the Gangster Disciples gang. His words on that song have caused numerous Gangster Disciples gang members to come out with their own songs dissing Chief Keef and his gang, such as Lil Jay, FBG Duck, and Cashout.
Unlike many beefs in the rap music industry which tend to stay on wax, a growing number of those beefs have seen a deadly end. One of the most infamous feuds between drill rap musicians was Chief Keef(Black Disciples) against Lil JoJo(Gangster Disciples), after a lengthy exchange of words, Lil JoJo was gunned down in Chicago. Though the killer was never caught, many believe that his death was the result of the ongoing beef with Chief Keef. The police themselves didn’t admit it had anything to do with Chief Keef, however they did believe it was gang related.
Drill music if often compared to the gangsta rap music due to their violent lyrics, therefore they tend to receive the same type of criticism. Critics often talk of how that music is negatively influencing the youths of today, they believe kids listening to this type of music will likely be influenced to become criminals themselves, supporters of drill music often disagree with this thinking. Lupe Fiasco, one of the most vocal opponents of Drill music said the following in an interview in regards to drill music and Chief Keef "Chief Keef scares me. Not him specifically, but just the culture that he represents ... The murder rate in Chicago is skyrocketing, and you see who's doing it and perpetrating it—they all look like Chief Keef.”
Though Drill music received its fair share of criticism, many artists have embraced it as a new worthy addition to the Hip Hop genre. Artist such as Kanye West whom is from Chicago has worked with many Drill musicians such as Chief Keef; following the release of Chief Keef’s hit song “I Don’t Like”, Kanye West did a remix which included artists such Jada Kiss, Big Sean, Pusha T, as well as Chief Keef.
One of the earliest Drill artists is King Louie, he is often considered as one of the founding fathers of to the drill scene, and was one of the first Drill artists to sign a major record deal. Chief Keef is arguably the most popular and successful of all the artists that have come out since it started. Drill music artists tend to be very young, Chief Keef started adding videos on youtube at a very early age, in some of his videos such as ‘John Madden’, he was only 15 years old. Though Chief Keef was very young, his lyrics were still as violent as any of the other Drill artists. Many of Chief Keef’s group(Glory Boyz Entetainment) members are close to Chief Keef’s age or younger such as SD. A Drill artist known as ‘Lil Mouse’ who’s 13 years old recently came under fire by the media for being so young yet rapping about killing individuals and doing drugs.
Drill music artists are overwhelmingly males, however, there are numerous female artists that are part of the Drill movement. Though there are a couple of female artists in the drill movement, none of them have been signed to any major labels as of late. Sasha Go Hard, one of the Female Drill music artists said that it’s harder for women to progress with their music due to the fact lot of producers tend to want sexual favors in return for working with them.