19th June 2019, London UK – Yesterday evening British rap duo Krept & Konan brought the conversation around the banning of Drill music to the heart of Westminster.
Held at the Houses of Parliament and introduced by Diane Abbott, MP of Hackney North and Stoke Newington and Shadow Home Secretary, panellists discussed the controversial move by the State and the Police to use Drill music as a scapegoat to tackle violent crime in the UK. The panel was moderated by author, journalist and broadcaster Hattie Collins, (Beats 1, This Is Grime) and included: Krept & Konan, Channel 4 News reporter Symeon Brown, and rappers Skengdo and AM (who, earlier this year, became the first artists in British legal history to be sentenced for performing a song).
The discussion was followed by a Q&A session with the audience which comprised of young members of Diane Abbott’s constituency. Panellists discussed how censoring Drill is scapegoating the music genre, is a civil right and legal issue, and stems from systematic discrimination, before moving on to explore potential alternative solutions to fighting violent crime in the UK.
“Drill music can be violent, and I have to be clear, when they do directly incite violence then the police should investigate. However, we do know that the root cause of violence on our streets is much wider than music.” – Diane Abbott
“There was violence before Drill. If we stop Drill right now, is it going to end? Drill is being used as a scapegoat. We need to tackle the situation with alternative routes. We need support. We need to invest in our communities. Invest in things that will help these young kids, teach them new things, how to do other things. Stopping them from doing things they like, when music is a way out, is not going to help the situation.” – Krept
“We know what it’s like to be in it and want to escape it, and what it feels like to be out of it. I’ve seen my mum get shot, I’ve seen my stepdad die. I’ve been in jail, I’ve been in gangs. Once you step out of it you know that this is not what you are meant to be doing. We want to give people a platform to escape.” – Konan
“Inequality is what is so stark. How some people are treated over talking about acts of violence, and the way that other people are treated. Looking at the mechanism, the way that the law has been used, is, in itself, a major civil inequality. Because it means the law is no longer being applied to all people at the same time. When we think about what liberty means, is it worth it in the name of supposed security?” – Symeon Brown
“With music, we thought ‘this is it, this is what’s going to change it for us’. Because at one point there was nothing, there was no hope – we were going to stick it out for as long as we could, just trying to stay alive. It’s very unfair for the police to be finding strategies to stop our income coming through and it’s almost an incentive to get money another way. They need to be looking at other solutions and allocating money and opportunities in the right places.” – AM (of Skengdo & AM)
The event followed the release of Krept & Konan’s ‘Ban Drill’ and an accompanying short film (directed by Roc Nation’s recent signing Rapman). A screening of the film, followed by a debate on the same topic, took place at a London cinema last week.
To mark the release of ‘Ban Drill’ and to drive home its message Krept & Konan have launched a petition in collaboration with Change.org asking the Crown Prosecution Service to stop the Police from being able to Ban Drill music by using the Serious Crime Act to prosecute artists.