Trap music is no longer the latest Dancehall phenomenon, as the re-emerged Drill music is the new fad.
With the success of Skillibeng’s drill influenced Wap Wap, Tommy Lee Sparta, and Skeng’s collaborative hit Protocol in 2021, and the anticipation of a Protocol 2, it’s safe to say drill music is the latest sound to infiltrate Dancehall.
Drill, which is sonically similar to trap music, is a subgenre of hip hop music, that was originated in Chicago in the late 2000s. The mid-2010s saw the emergence of Chicago-influenced Brooklyn drill artists such as Bobby Shmurda, while the late 2010s saw the emergence of new prominent drill artists from Brooklyn such as the late Pop Smoke, and Fivio Foreign among others.
In 2012, the UK drill rose to prominence and has influenced other regional scenes. In a Music News exclusive, UK radio presenter Robo Ranx says Drill music has a place in Dancehall.
Today, Dancehall entertainers Tommy Lee Sparta, Skeng, and Skillibeng have experimented with Drill music.
Skillibeng, in a recent interview with Atlanta-based radio DJ, podcaster, and producer Dj Kash, credited Drill music as an early influence while speaking about the formula for his international success.
Drill music focuses on crime and the daily ordeals of life on the streets, and the word itself is street slang for the use of automatic weapons. The beat tends to be of a slow tempo – usually 60 or 70 beats per minute, and the rapping style isn’t about metaphors or punchlines and often has a very deadpan delivery.