EDITORIAL: When Keeping It Drill Goes Wrong

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There was a voice in the back of my mind that told me as soon as I ran a piece on my love of ludicrous hip-hop that I would then find myself inundated with tracks that would make me regret having ever opened my mouth. If you read UTG on a regular basis you already know we ran that editorial, and today I am here to tell you that little voice was right.

Yesterday afternoon, a song by the name of “Go Crazy” was brought to my attention by someone familiar with UTG’s appreciation for over-the-top rap music. The track comes from a young Chicago rapper that goes by the name RondoNumbaNine, and in addition to piss poor production features an appearance from an equally unknown talent (and I use that word loosely) by the name of Cdai. Over the course of four-and-a-half minutes these two wannabe celebrities do their best to set the entire drill music movement back by delivering some of the weakest lines in recent memory in the most obnoxious way possible.

Before we go any further, allow me to share the track and its fittingly generic video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSqNVhQ2AqY

If you made it through the entire song I applaud you. It took me three tries, and even then I found myself adjusting the volume before the halfway point.

One of the great things about the drill music movement is that it is still in its infancy, but that also leads many to believe they can cash in on the genre’s trendiness without putting in any actual effort. People seem to think just because they throw together a trap-influenced beat and generically dark lyricism that it doesn’t matter what they say as long as it falls in line with what everyone who came before them laid down. “Go Crazy” is the perfect example of this, touching every hot button drill topic from guns and violence, to weed and womanizing without ever offering a moment of sincere originality. The video does the same, copying frame-by-frame the formula Chief Keef used to build his brand between 2011 and 2012.

Keef has no claim to this visual approach, of course, nor is there anything wrong with violent lyricism. My problem stems from the abhorrent disregard for each rapper’s own artistic integrity. Rondo and his musical cohorts could be any collection of individuals trying to cash in on what is hot right now in rap, and if I had to guess they are already well aware of that fact. They want to blend in. They want people to hear their music and think to themselves “is this the new [insert successful drill rapper]?” They don’t want to be known themselves as unique individuals or artists with something to say, they want to move units while the urban music spotlight is still firmly focused on the Windy City and they are willing to say or depict themselves doing whatever they think people want to see to do it.

To his credit, Rondo was recently sought for questioning by Chicago police after posting photos of himself online with a rocket launcher. No, seriously, a rocket launcher.

Before artists like Chief Keef and King Louie broke onto the national scene in 2012 trap music was rarely discussed in the mainstream, and there certainly were not as many Chicago-based emcees being highlighted around the blogosphere. Since then however, the genre has exploded, leading to many, many young rappers trying to dip their toes in the latest music trend. Every genre has its fakes, knock-offs, and wannabes, but for a scene as young as drill music the barrier to entry is far low and the results can leave a far greater impact. Drill is still permeating its way through society, and as people begin to desire more information they are going to turn to sources like WorldStar to discover what this area of music is all about. Would you want “Go Crazy” to represent your entire genre, or even the city you live in? That will most definitely be the case for dozens, if not hundreds or thousands of curious music fans, and I hope it does not turn them off to the genre entirely.

I have said it before and I will say it again – I love ridiculous rap music. In my opinion, all great music should move you in some way, and drill music fuels me with the desire to conquer obstacles in a way entirely its own. It’s a scene filled with brilliant young minds waiting for their chance, but empty and poorly produced material such as this keeps many of them from ever being heard. Don’t let bad drill music turn you away before you have a chance to experience what the truly creative artists driving the scene are creating. It’s truly unique, and in the years to come will be a thriving area of music unlike any other.

Written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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