Since it first trickled over from Chicago in the mid-2010s, drill has grown in unimaginable ways. Starting as a niche South London sound, with its eerie, 808s-loaded beats and just as if not more menacing bars than its US counterpart, UK drill has now broken through with its share of chart hits and international stars.
Outfits like 150, 67, and the recently disbanded Smoke Boys (fka Section Boys) rode the sound’s first wave and, more recently, Headie One (and half of OFB, namely RV, Bandokay & Double Lz), Digga D, Unknown T, Russ Millions, Tion Wayne, Loski, Skengdo x AM and Central Cee have been leading the charge and making the sound a true force to be reckoned with. Despite what people might say, UK drill is far from monolithic and its sound and key players are changing faster than ever. Some rappers are moving on from drill and that’s okay, because there’s a new gen waiting in the wings, ready for their time to shine. Some of this new wave have been working in the scene for some time, others are newcomers, but each of the acts we’re profiling today is bringing something fresh to the table.
They’ve been watching drill grow and evolve and shift through its many iterations; they’ve taken the lessons learned, and they’re fusing it with Afroswing, grime, garage, dancehall, R&B and more traditional rap sounds. Drill’s future holds almost unlimited possibilities, but one thing we can be sure about is that these 10 artists are going to be its next stars.