Brooklyn drill

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Brooklyn drill is a regional subgenre of drill music, centered in Brooklyn, New York, that began as derivative of the drill music scene in Chicago and later became derivative of UK drill with its 808 percussion and sliding notes by producers from the UK drill scene.[1][2][3] Brooklyn drill emerged around 2014 with the single "Hot Nigga" from the rapper Bobby Shmurda.[4][5] Other early pioneers were rappers Rowdy Rebel, Bam Bino, Money Millz, Dah Dah and Curly Savv.[6] It was again made popular in the mainstream in 2019 by the late Pop Smoke.[7][8][9] With the success of his mixtapes, particularly the songs “Dior” and "Welcome to the Party", Pop Smoke introduced Brooklyn drill into the mainstream music industry. Other notable Brooklyn drill artists include Fivio Foreign, 22Gz, Sheff G, Sleepy Hallow, Dusty Locane, & Ice Spice.[10][11][12]


Brooklyn drill music first gained attention with the 2014 single "Hot Nigga" from the rapper Bobby Shmurda.[4][5] Other early pioneers were rappers Bam Bino, Dah Dah and Curly Savv.[6] The genre is agreed to have been pioneered by 22Gz and Sheff G, largely scaling the potential of the movement.[13] The music became more popular and associated with UK drill production (from producers such as 808Melo, AXL Beats, and Ghosty) with the releases of 22Gz's "Suburban" in 2016 and Sheff G's "No Suburban" in 2017. Both songs went viral and were credited for the rise of Brooklyn drill.[14][15]

Brooklyn drill music reached mainstream Billboard Hot 100 success with tracks from Pop Smoke ("Welcome to the Party," "Dior," and "Gatti") and Fivio Foreign ("Big Drip" and "Demons").[16][17][18] Pop Smoke was nominated for a 2021 Grammy Award for "Dior."[19][20][21][22][23] In 2020, Pop Smoke was murdered during a home invasion in Hollywood Hills, California.[24][25][26][27][28]

Over time, Brooklyn drill has evolved into a broader New York drill scene.[29] One example is Staten Island rapper CJ, whose hit song "Whoopty" is reminiscent of the Brooklyn drill sound.[30] Bronx rapper Ice Spice went viral in 2022 with the song "Munch (Feelin' U)" before reaching the Hot 100 in 2023 with the tracks "Gangsta Boo" (with Lil Tjay) and "In Ha Mood" from her debut EP Like..?. "Princess Diana" from the same EP reached the top 5 from Nicki Minaj's remix, peaking at #4, and outselling the rest of the Hot 100's top 25 in its first week.[31][32] She also reached the top 3 with her remix of PinkPantheress' 2022 single Boy's a Liar.[33]

Brooklyn drill music has been described as influential among protestors for social change, including some associated with the Black Lives Matter movement.[34][35]


The Brooklyn drill sound is a combination of trap, Chicago drill and UK drill (the latter of which brings production influences from grime and UK garage).[36] Characteristic features of Brooklyn drill production include 808 percussion with manipulated vocal samples.[37][38] The lyrical content of Brooklyn drill music tends to be dark, violent, and aggressive, often discussing gang-related topics.


In 2022, some individuals drew connections between the pro-gun content of the genre to real-world gun violence on the streets of New York that had rapidly and recently killed a number of young drill artists, mostly those with origins of Brooklyn and the Bronx.[39][40][41][42][43]

DJ reaction[edit]

In early 2022, in response to the large and rising number of dead young people connected to the music scene, a number of prominent New York DJs and music influencers, including DJ Drewski at Hot 97, Joe Budden, Ebro Darden of "Ebro in the Morning" on Hot 97, D Teck, either vowed to stop playing gang/diss records or re-iterated their refusal.[44][45][46]

Adams administration[edit]

In February 2022, NYC mayor Eric Adams had set to ban music videos associated with the drill scene after learning about the killing of 18-year-old rapper C-HII Wvttz.[47] There was a lot of backlash met with this statement. As a result, Adams met with musicians for a conversation on how to approach concerns about drill culture's connections, if any, to gun violence. Artists at the meeting included Maino, Fivio Foreign, B-Lovee, CEO Slow, Bucksy Luciano and Bleezy.[48]

Sample drill[edit]

Sample drill,[49] also sometimes called Bronx drill, is a subgenre of Brooklyn drill music, which originated in the early 2020s in The Bronx and prominently uses uncleared samples of older records instead of synthesizers in classic Brooklyn drill.[50]

Sample drill originated during the early 2020s in New York (most prominently, in The Bronx), where producers such as Cash Cobain, EPondabeat,[49] WAR,[49] EvilGiane,[49] and others, started re-using older funk and soul, and pop music songs to create modern yet nostalgic sound. A number of rappers subsequently joined the scene, most prominently, Kay Flock, B-Lovee, Shawny Binladen, DThang Gz, and others.[50]

The easily recognizable samples in sample drill are also said to increase its viral potential. Songs, such as B-Lovee's "My Everything" (sampling "Everything" by Mary J. Blige)[49] gained over 400,000 uses on TikTok and produced two remixes, featuring A Boogie wit da Hoodie and G Herbo. Another early TikTok viral sample drill hit was "Deep End Freestyle" (sampling Fousheé's "Deep End") by Brooklyn native Sleepy Hallow. Despite playing a huge role in genre's spread, Cash Cobain refused to acknowledge that sample drill musicians mostly do songs for TikTok.[50] EPondabeat, another producer involved in the scene, claimed that sampling in used for marketing purpose to invoke listener's relatability.[49]

Sample drill rappers employ a rather wide variety of rapping flows. As Cash Cobain put it, "These little kids from the Bronx are wild. They on demon time. They're angrier with their shit.", implying that sample drill musicians often use aggressive flows, although Shawny Binladen is known for his whispering flow.[50]

Samples for sample drill come from a variety of sources and these sources may differ depending on producer. Bronx-based Cash Cobain mainly uses round-the-century contemporary R&B and hip hop music sources;[49][51] meanwhile, EPondabeat, EvilGiane prefer to use soul music and funk recordings for sampling; other producers, such as WAR, do not limit themselves among sampling sources.[49]

Most sample drill songs do not get cleared; sample clearance only happens post-factum when the song in the subgenre becomes viral.[50] Cash Cobain claimed he does not care to clear samples for his beats.[51]

Sample drill, since its inception around 2020, already had a mainstream crossover, when Cardi B performed on "Shake It" by Kay Flock.[50] Sample drill has also influenced Jersey drill sound[50] and more commercial drill sound, most particularly the influence can be heard on B.I.B.L.E. by Fivio Foreign, where he sampled "Say My Name" by Destiny's Child.[50]

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ "How Drake Ended Up Rapping on a Drill Beat: An Interview With "War" Producer AXL Beats". Complex. Retrieved 2020-08-11.
  3. ^ Koku, Danielle (2020-05-14). ""We own the ball now": How UK producers set a new standard for drill". Mixmag. Retrieved 2020-09-24.
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  5. ^ a b "There's a New Hip-Hop Movement Brewing in New York, and Everybody Knows It". XXL Mag. April 15, 2020. Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  6. ^ a b "How Brooklyn Drill Became the New Sound of New York". Archived from the original on 2020-09-15. Retrieved 2020-08-11.
  7. ^ "22Gz, a Pioneer of Brooklyn Drill". Complex. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  8. ^ Schwartz, Danny (2020-02-20). "Pop Smoke Should've Been New York's Next Great Rapper". The Ringer. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  9. ^ XXL Staff (2020-09-03). "Pop Smoke Speaks on Brooklyn Drill, New New York Movement and His Place In It in One of His Final Interviews". XXL Mag. Retrieved 2020-09-24.
  10. ^ "The Death of Pop Smoke and the Future of Brooklyn Drill". The New York Times. 2020-02-28. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  11. ^ Balsamini, Dean (2020-05-23). "Young up-and-coming NYC rapper KJ Balla killed in drive-by shooting". New York Post. Retrieved 2020-08-11.
  12. ^ Mamo, Heran (2023-05-11). "THE NEW 'PRINCESS' OF RAP: HOW ICE SPICE EXPLODED INTO STARDOM". Billboard. Retrieved 2023-05-21.
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  14. ^ Pierre, Alphonse (May 2019). "Sheff G Made Drill the Sound of Brooklyn". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  15. ^ "Exploring The Trans-Atlantic Drill Connection". Clash Magazine. 31 July 2020. Retrieved 2020-08-11.
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  30. ^ Seabrook III, Robby (November 25, 2020). "The Break Presents: CJ". XXL. Retrieved 2020-11-27.
  31. ^ Coleman II, C. Vernon (April 25, 2023). "Ice Spice's 'Princess Diana' Remix With Nicki Minaj Debuts at No. 4 on Billboard Hot 100 Chart". XXL. Retrieved 2023-05-21.
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  48. ^ Mayor Takes Late-Night Meeting With 'Drill' Rappers, Promises Violence Solutions
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