Drill music has officially gone global. The subgenre, born in the cold streets of Chicago a little more than a decade ago, moved its way to the U.K. before reigniting New York City’s renowned rap scene over the last few years. Now, artists stretched all the way to African countries like Ghana and Nigeria are taking part in the excitement.
Drilling was first made mainstream by Chi-town-bred artists like Chief Keef, G Herbo, Lil Bibby and King Louie. It’s been a minute since those guys, who are arguably vets now, came into the game, but the Windy City isn’t without someone to carry the torch. Though he was tragically shot down in Atlanta last fall, King Von was that guy and songs like “Crazy Story” epitomize the everlasting strength of the drill movement.
The U.K. was the next demographic to adopt this form of music. When 67 and Giggs released “Let’s Lurk” back in 2016, it was the start of a movement that would later be led by rappers like Loski, who came in hot with “Hazards.” Headie One would soon become a general as well, with songs like “Know Better” with RV being a countrywide classic.
For New York City, specifically Brooklyn, there’s a landmine of talent continuing to push the style to the forefront of hip-hop. Artists like Sheff G and 22gz are credited for sparking things off, but the biggest star to emerge from BK was the fallen rhymer Pop Smoke. His songs “Welcome to the Party” and “Dior” flooded the streets and with the help of Fivio Foreign’s “Big Drip,” took drill to national heights that weren’t reached before.
Drill music is far larger than it’s ever been. So with that in mind, XXL highlights the best drill songs over the last five years. Check them out below.