Where can I make music in London

Criminalizing UK DrillsSkengdo and AT THE Soundtrack For Gangs

UK drill is considered even tougher than gangsta rap. The two rappers Skengdo and AM are particularly successful in the new rap genre. For the police, the texts are calls for violence.

The two rappers Skengdo and AM have been sentenced to two years probation. The police accuse them of inciting gang crime with their music. "Attempted", a track that the two performed live at the London Club Koko in the Camden district in January 2019, is a "diss track" that they composed against rappers who were enemies, reports our reporter Ann Kristin Schenten.

Exactly this track provides the police with proof that the rappers are actively involved in gang crime in London and incite violence, explains the label boss of Skengdo and Am, Ian McQuaid.

Gang crime is now just as severely punished by the London police as terrorism. The music of Skengdo and AM is considered part of this gang crime, although the rappers with the track have not been proven to have committed actual acts of violence. The concert at the beginning of January was enough to convict the two of them because of the performance. The ruling is unique in Great Britain. The police see this as an important step in the fight against rising street crime in London.

Increasing violence in London

Knife attacks killed 135 people in London last year. More than in 10 years. But drill cannot be blamed on its own, because there are problems with the police too. In the past 10 years she has had to cut 20,000 jobs.

In an interview with British Channel4, the rapper AM told that it would affect him in such a way that the police would now rush to the music without wanting to change the situation on the streets.

"The reality of people's lives is obviously not a problem. But it is a problem to address precisely this reality of life in music. Even if it is generally known."
Analogous rendering of AM in the interview with Channel4

And Skengdo and AM label boss Ian McQuaid doesn't believe that the punishments will change anything about the violence on the streets of London.

"The police make it easy if they start now to arrest young people who make music with violent content and to criminalize them. Only to then counter to the media and say: Look here, we're doing something."
Ian McQuaid, label boss at Skengdo and AM

Organizations, journalists and artists protest and see the artistic freedom of the drill artists as endangered. In an open letter to the London police, they not only criticize the verdict against Skengdo and AM, but also that Drill is repeatedly criminalized. The police have already had over 100 videos deleted from YouTube.

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Skengdo and AM continue to play music, but now they feel the police are watching. "Gun Talk" is the latest track from the two rappers and the title could well be interpreted as a swipe at the police, says Ann Kristin.

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