The New York City Police Department is considering that the city’s latest string of gun violence involving young rappers could possibly be connected to their drill music style whose lyrics focus on dangers of criminal activity.
Drill music is a sub-genre of hip-hop that is characterized by a dark, slow tempo, straightforward lyrics that focus on the dangers of criminal activity and an emotionless delivery.
The nihilistic rap style began in Chicago in the 2010s but has since expanded across the world. The style of hip-hop has accumulated a strong following in Brooklyn and is accused to be a driving factor in the recent rise of gun violence targeting up-and-coming rappers.
NYPD Deputy Chief Joseph Gulotta, who focuses his work in Brooklyn South, believes the recent rise of gang-related gun violence is possibly being stoked by the drill rap scene and its aggressive lyrics.
‘The music definitely inflames the situation,’ Gulotta told the New York Daily News. ‘But these are gang shootings. I think sometimes rap and the lyrics ignite, cause some issues. But I don’t think that’s the underlying motive at the end of the day.’
Violent crime has surged across the country in recent years, especially in New York City over the past year, with many different factors including increased tensions between the police and public, unemployment rates, soft-on-crime politicians and bail reform also being blamed as explanations.
The New York City Police Department is ‘very concerned’ about rising violence connected to the drill rap scene. Pictured: Police officers from the 69th precinct investigate the shooting of NYC rapper Tdott Woo
While murders are down nearly 13 percent at this time over last year, shootings have increased almost 30 percent. Overall crime in the Big Apple has skyrocketed 41.65 percent.
There is a long history connecting gun violence and gang rivalries with hip-hop, but the feuds go beyond the music.
‘These are ongoing gang disputes in the same geographical area,’ Gulotta said. ‘Can they be connected? They sure could. These are longstanding beefs between these groups and they’re right there on top of each other.’
While the NYPD chief thinks that the music could be helping to fan the flames between the conflicting groups, sometimes the harsh lyrics help police to piece these crimes together.
‘They’ll talk about what they’re going to do,’ Gulotta explained. ‘They’ll talk about the past.’
‘You’ve got all kinds of crazy alliances with these gangs. You’ve got Crips that align with Folk. A lot of this deals with geography and where you live,’ Gulotta said. ‘We’re very concerned about the level of violence.’
The latest drill rapper to fall victim to the rising gun violence was rapper Tdott Woo, whose legal name was Tahjay Dobson.
Tdott Woo was shot and killed in a drive by shooting in Brooklyn on Tuesday, February 1
The 22-year-old rapper and dancer was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in Brooklyn on February 1.
The rising star was shot in the head while walking in the neighborhood he grew up in, hours after signing a recording contract, the New York Post first reported.
Dobson was shot in the head at 2:20 pm local time on Avenue L near East 98th Street in Canarsie, according to their police insiders. No arrests have been made.
Hours before his death, his record label Million Dollar Music announced the deal.
According to officials, Dobson was not in the Police Department’s gang database but was affiliated with members of the G Stone Crips, a Canarsie-based crew.
Several days before TDott’s death, rapper Camrin Williams, aka C Blu, was released from Brooklyn juvenile detention center where he was being held on gun and assault charges for allegedly shooting Officer Kaseem Pennant, 27, on January 18.
The 16-year-old aspiring rapper and alleged gang member posted the $250,000 bail using money from his record deal advance on his contract with Interscope Records.
Williams clashed with police officers when they responded to reports of unrest and he refused to comply with their orders to remove his hands from his pockets.
Camrin Williams – aka C Blu – was locked up in Brooklyn on gun and assault charges this month
Nas Blixky, real name Nasir Fisher, was shot and nearly killed in Brooklyn on January 27
He began fighting with one of the officers and during the tussle, he accidentally shot Pennant – a single bullet struck and wounded Pennant and hit Williams in the groin.
The teenage rapper was also connected to Kay Flock, an 18-year-old drill star who was arrested in December on murder charges for allegedly shooting a man outside a Manhattan barbershop.
Brooklyn rapper Nas Blixky was also involved in a violent gang-related shooting this month when he was nearly killed on January 27. (Blixky is a slang term for gun)
Nas Blixky, whose real name is Nasir Fisher, has since decided to create a new stage name and leave the drill rap scene. The 22-year-old was associated with an Ebbets Field housing complex gang called Folk Nation.
Police released footage showing a man walking along the sidewalk on Montgomery St. in Prospect Lefferts Gardens and pulling out a gun as he crosses the street toward Rogers Ave. and opens fire. No arrests have been made.
The drill rap shootings have been an ongoing issue in recent years.
In May 2020 Nick Blixky, 21, legally known as Nickalus Thompson, who was set to drop his first mixtape in less than a month, was shot and killed when he was gunned down in the middle of a Brooklyn street in Prospect Lefferts Gardens.
Several months after that, Luis Caballero, 22, who went by Lu Blixky, was fatally shot in Brooklyn in October 2020.