It’s one of the newest musical genres to arrive in the UK. But what are the ingredients of a drill song and how can you make it yourself at home?
You can learn how to write a UK drill song and music in 5 easy steps, by making or using existing beats, talking about your experiences and understanding drill’s own language. But be careful, this genre of music isn’t without controversy and often attracts YouTube bans.
In this article, we’ll take you through a simple format for drill success, as well as looking at where it began, what makes it different and how you can be responsible with it.
How to write a UK drill song & music
Drill originated in Chicago, as a response to gritty street life experiences, extreme violence and the many killings rife in the city. Often coming from emerging artists, the style is raw and violent, delivered in a grim style.
It’s used a lot by teenagers exploring their creativity – both males and females – as a way to express and process bad and negative things that have happened.
Artists often appear on videos with hidden faces, wearing masks and hoodies.
How to make drill lyrics
The drill scene made its way from Chicago to the UK around 2012 emerging in the London neighbourhood of Brixton. Having established itself as a new music genre, bands like Silwood Nation, Block 6 and CGM started making a mark on the music industry.
YouTube has been the main way the genre has spread, with videos being an intrinsic part of drill music and attracting millions of viewers.
#1 Think about the negatives
This isn’t great general life advice, as focussing on bad things is not good for your mental health. However, to write a drill song, you’ll need to draw out any negative things that have happened to you and talk about them.
Most drill artists write from experience and if you do the same, you’ll have your own unique angle on things. If you’re from a deprived area, think about the struggles and challenges that crime and violence have brought.
What makes a song drill?
The UK drill is distinctive from the American style and sometimes called the new grime. It’s a style of gangster rap, often related to road rap, covering extremes in topics. It has its own slang and language too – a defining aspect of drill songs.
#2 Use drill slang
This is an aspect that’ll really make your song stand out as being drill specific. Those in the know will recognise the words, exclusive to this genre and it’ll mark you out as a drill artist.
UK drill drum pattern and drill song makers
Drill drum patterns are around 60 to 70 beats per minute, slower than many other rap and grime songs. Their accompaniment often features minor scales.
#3 Find or make your beats
You now have some topic ideas and have learned some of the slang, but before you start to write, you should find and download a track online to rap over. This can be done the other way round (write then find an instrumental), but if you’re just starting out with a drill, it’ll be easier to do with the beats already down. You could ask other artists to collaborate for this if you want something unique and if you have the kit you can make your own beats.
If you do want to make a basic beat yourself, here’s how.
How to start a drill song
Drill music is all about the melody and the hook. So this should be your first point when beginning writing your lyrics.
#4 Come up with a hook
Think about what you want to say. What your message is and the things you need to get off your chest. Avoid punchlines and metaphors as they are rarely used in drill music and aim for a spooky type sound to go with it. Here are some popular examples.
How to make a UK drill song that won’t get banned
There’s a lot of controversy around this music style with criticism from public officials who claim it encourages violence, weaponry and knife attacks. In 2018 UK group 1011 were legally forbidden from talking about any kind of injury, death, gangs and specific postcodes in their videos.
In the same year, 30 drill videos were removed from YouTube. 1011 now have to notify police within a full day of releasing a video so that it can be checked. But there are lots of drill artists not getting banned.
#5 Be responsible
Any musician who achieves success will become a role model of sorts. This shouldn’t be taken lightly. Even when you’re starting out, be responsible with what you’re saying. Express yourself, your anger and the issues you see and experience without glamorising or encouraging criminal behaviour.
When any new genre lands on the music industry, it’s hard to make predictions. Judging by its success in the states, drill looks set to stay here. But high profile bans and the more extreme end of the spectrum could put its future at risk. Only time will tell. But if you’re a rap artist, drill music may be a great vehicle for you to express yourself and create some new beats.
- How can I make a song?
Start by first writing either the lyrics, topline, or backing – or collaborate with someone else who will provide this, and you add the rest of the components. Think about what inspires you. Artists who write from the heart and personal experience are often the most successful.
- What is the difference between drill and grime?
There’s a lot of crossover between the two. Drill music is generally more extreme in its topics. Musically, grime is faster and more beat-based, whereas, drill music is slower with a focus on the melody/hook.
- Does music make you violent?
Music doesn’t make people violent. In fact, music can have a soothing, calming effect and be a healthy, safe outlet for anger and emotion. Some lyrics, music videos and artists can incite or encourage violence though. This, in turn, gives areas of the industry and certain genres a bad reputation.
Do you write UK Drill songs and music? If you have a video or track, post a link below, we’d love to see and hear it.