YouTube has purged itself of more than 30 ‘Drill’ music videos after police singled them out for fuelling London’s knife crime epidemic.
As Business Insider reports, Britain’s Metropolitan Police have not only pointed the finger of blame at the trap subgenre for glorifying the #thuglyf, they’ve also gone so far as to suggest that the clips are being used as covert emissaries between rival gangs to carry threats of violence and declarations of war.
“The gangs try to outrival each other with the filming and content – what looks like a music video can actually contain explicit language with gangs threatening each other,” Detective Superintendent Mike West told the publication.
“There are gestures of violence, with hand signals suggesting they are firing weapons and graphic descriptions of what they would do to each other.”
If you need a brief refresher, Drill music first originated in Chicago’s South Side but has since risen to popularity in south London, where many of its artists’ lyrics reference things like gang rivalries, drug-dealing and violent street crime.
Incredibly, West also spilled to Business Insider that the cops actually have a central database of more than 1,400 Drill music videos that they use to gather intelligence on criminal activity.
But they’ll only ask YouTube to remove the ones that they “believe raise the risk of violence” in the British capital, where the rising epidemic saw five teenagers and one man stabbed within 90 minutes of each other last month.
“Where we can, we will [also] take action against individuals appearing in [the videos],” he added.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson from YouTube has also made a statement, confessing that streaming juggernaut shares “the deep concern about this issue” and does “not want our platform used to incite violence”.
Drill artists have previously denied the alleged causal link between their music and real-life street violence in London, including DJ Bembah, who told BBC Radio 4 last month that “[Drill] is just real-life content, you talk about things that happen from day to day. Music can affect your emotions, but it can’t affect what you do outside. It can’t make you go outside and stab someone.”
It’s all very reminiscent of the discussions we’ve seen reemerge around violent video games and mass shootings in America recently.
Noisey famously investigated the tricky relationship between Drill music and street violence in the context of Chicago during first episode of their excellent 8-part documentary series Chiraq, and you can give part of that a watch below.