Roadmanbarty's Top 20 Drills


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Mistersloane said a really clever thing on there when I was going on about the lyrics and their heavy use of strings of percussive monosyllables he said it was probably to do with writing on a phone screen. I think he's right.


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You probably read it at the time but cos skunk has given you premature onset Alzheimer's you forgot


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I think road rap/drill HAS been criticised for just being a knock-off of US trap/drill. What has happened though is that it's evolved to become a distinctive sound (albeit highly derivative of US rap - Barty will disagree I suppose) - the MCs have a definite grime influence, as well as their own slang etc.

Post dubstep was a coalescing of all these different influences. Which made it a bit tepid and half-baked. Also it rarely if ever managed to transcend those infleunces.

UK drill is definitely open to all manner of criticisms but it has a certain purity that a "scene" like post dubstep lacked. And it's produced tunes that I'd argue are as strong as stuff that Chicago and Atlanta has produced.

Does UK drill really transcend its US influences? I think it would if it rooted its percussion in grime, but it doesn't, only its beat structure to an extent. blackdown called the basslines a kind of darkside acid the other month, which was the most preposterous old man tryna catch up with the yout ting i had ever heard.


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I think post-dubstep was seen as beyond the pale for its blatant involvement of students?

As said, I both get the 'too samey' criticism and I don't. Part of the charm of, say, rave, is that all the core elements are present and correct in a high percentage of tunes. That said, another part of its charm is that some tunes go rogue

kinda yeah. though this is the poptimist reading of rave, it doesn't get at its morph-beat element, which i tried to get at with my list.

In Morphing Culture 1, we addressed the need for more interesting soundscapes within the rave format. After a re-summary of the ideas, I will present some morph-gems that I have inadvertedly stumbled on over the years. In addition, I would like to invite readers to keep adding to this list of “kinda-reviews” in an effort to further the scope of the music – beyond the dimensions of my un-humble opinions.
What we are slacking toward here in the realm of Morph is a basic premise that, what with all the sounds out there in the universe, and the technology to play around with them, it just makes sense to go beyond the traditional realms of dance music in order to satisfy the constant need for sounds that address our present and future. Now, after a particularly invigorating run-on sentence, I’m really pumped to get started – but wait! Let’s just say this first… Credit where due, and more to follow…
…The original Hip Hop djs were seminal morphers. I direct your attention to The movie “WildStyle” where Grandmaster Flash, courtesy of the 3 turntables in his kitchen, collages found sounds into an inspirational minimal alien dopescape. Quick cut to the early industrialists, pre-sequencer, driving bull-dozers back and forth on stage for optimum bass. Jumble break to the best part of every song – that jet engine take-off, that good ole football crowd noise, the explosion at the beginning of every KISS live album, that nutty pre-acid house baleric movement, Kraftwerks “Pocket Calculator”, Gongs, lasers, blah blah blah – how often do you wish the musicians would just give it up and just make a whole song out of all those kool sounds? If you have little tolerance for traditional music, the Morph Beat is for you!


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Depends what elements you're inclined to foreground really. If you read the never ending debates on YouTube and Twitter the Americans say it's all DJ L beats and any spin that's been put on that basic template is so small as to be negligible whereas English people say it's it's own thing. Funny thing is the Dutch are on it too and have been for a while. Yamica is Dutch for instance.


call me big papa
Depends what elements you're inclined to foreground really. If you read the never ending debates on YouTube and Twitter the Americans say it's all DJ L beats and any spin that's been put on that basic template is so small as to be negligible whereas English people say it's it's own thing. Funny thing is the Dutch are on it too and have been for a while. Yamica is Dutch for instance.

And anyway it isn't just beats is it?

I'm not saying it's some radically new thing but it has matured to reach a level where it's not just a pisspoor imitation of the US stuff


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And anyway it isn't just beats is it?

I'm not saying it's some radically new thing but it has matured to reach a level where it's not just a pisspoor imitation of the US stuff

Well this is what people argue about. It's not clear cut. As I say it depends what you choose to foreground.


call me big papa
It's interesting cos the MCing is going to be different inherently cos of the difference in language

And that in turn changes the beats

It must be the case, it simply must be


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lyrics for corpsey

C1- do it again

C1’s to me the archetypal drill rapper. His vocal delivery is completely indistuisable in terms of timbre and accent; it’s totally sounds like a school boy answering a teacher sounding. This of course perfectly compliments the murky instrumental its on and more broadly drill’s aesthetic of anonymity.

Loski- famlee

Loski’s a fiting one to follow, because he’s also got a schoolboy voice. I know people love him, but to be honest I’m not a big fan of him. This pick’s more for the instrumental, though I don’t think he’s a hinderence.

Poky- d kamp

“stuck in the hood just trying to survive, pop 4 ic3’s in a ride” is not only a brilliantly satisfactory line, it plays into the whole code name thing with drill artists (c1, r6, etc). the way drill appropriates police codes and internalizes/weaponises them is a clever, inadvertant bit of social commentary; the police have the same inhuman view of them as they have of one another (and ultimately themselves given the death wish nature of a lot of drill).

His voice in this is based on kids doing exaggerated impressions of their draconian Nigerian mums. The “eh” thing for example (just the other day I told a story of our ghanian teacher who did that). the way he pronounces “low” like “loh”. All that’s playing around with the African thing.

“Anything shh get shh” again fits into drills aesthetic of anonymity and the way slang is used as a cryptolect like polari or cockney rhyming slang were used back in the day to avoid police.

Moscow- Smoke and dingers

Hate the chorus. Really naff. Sounds like a Bengali boy I know.

But “got him right under his chest, next time I’m going to get his chest, then I’m going to bore his head” is a great opening line. Especially because he’s got a great james earl jones voice.

The 2nd verse is a great contrast. Faster, less bass in the voice. “Moscow march with diligent goons”. If you just saw that written somewhere and had never heard drill before that’d be a bizarre thing to read. Its like the language they speak in clockwork orange (clockwork orange of course a dystopian novel about a gang of nihilistic boys inflicting needless violence on the streets of London)

C1- slums

“2 bells on a dot just roasting, ready to blast and bite out skin”. Again, imagine reading that somewhere with no context. What the fuck are you on about mate? Its great. It sounds like incantation.

“the world’s much bigger than the tulse hill slums” was the last line of my ill fated uk drill essay.

I like the chorus in this. As luke often points out, rapped choruses are usually awful.

“I done a madness last week” sounds like those jack the ripper letters.

Ad- ad anywhere

It sounds like a ferret rapping. A weasly scurrying rap.

The childlike smattering of high pitched “ching” is amusing.

“nuff time when I swung my ching ching turn a boy victim”

“hit him with the ching I want get him with the chong”

(Reynolds once sent me an email with the title “I almost chinged myself” as it happens)

the verse that stars “my man run” is a great contrast. Slows it all down, bassy voice. If the first bloke was a ferret, this is a warthog trudging in. he slows the hole thing, takes control of it by bringing it down to his level.

“ad’s we hop out hop out”. All these verses open wicked.

“ain’t on piss”. It was webeschatology who pointed out the abundance of this phrase to me and it’s a goodun. A weird thing to be so widely used. Telling, but I don’ tknow of what.

Cb- take that risk

Cb’s timbre reminds me of the game.

“how many times” is of course iconic and rather poignant.

Another “ain’t on piss”.

“no face”. The aesthetic of anonymity strikes again.

Niton b- rise and dan

This one was more for the instrumental. Don’t like niton. All nasal. Sounds like a Somali boy I know.

Loski- Mummy’s kitchen

This is his best performance I think. The pirouetting instrumental allows him to prance over it. its bouncy and boyant. Like a garange mc almost.

“mummy’s” is a subversive toying with the infantilism I was talking about loski possessing earlier.

Moscow- lightwork

“me and my bro chuckled when we done that changing” is fucking hilarious.

I associate the line “I don’t know nothing about pressure” with luke screaming it at the top of his lungs anytime he plays it (and doing the same for all of the 15 rewinds he gives it).

“they think I’m a juju” is an interpolation of an old headie one refrain. Though headie is now my sworn enemy, when I first heard him do it I remember fucking loving it. firstly just the introduction of African melodies into drill felt exciting and like a new frontier was opening up in uk music and also because juju is cool (and I like the archie shepp album ‘the magic of juju’).

Silwood- war is war

“tell that man come mackintosh”

for those of you who know, you know

the classic am and skengdo mad about bars is over this instrumental and I would have picked it if it was just am, but skengdo’s too bad to include in this list. But classic am lines from this “feds tried to ask if I bunned that don, non jetais a la maison”, “I am the a and I am the m, skrr du du du for dem” and the whole “get man down when he don’t comply…. breaks my heart when a man don’t ride” bit.

g9- madness

east London voice. Grime voice. Its like shrapnel. It cuts through the mix rather than blends into it.

“ambiguous visions”

more “skrr du du du du”. All these memetic phrases that recure through drill; “ten toes”, “diligent”, “ain’t on piss”. This pool of phrases and vocal ticks they all draw on. Again all pointing to this loss of individual identity as they surrender to a collective one.

Harlem- dj khaled

Miz is my favourite drill rapper. He’s the most post-migos drill rapper. The whack a mole fragementation. Where timbaland slowed down and sped up time, migos managed to hav these mini-reversals of time- this weaponised antrerograde amnesia- where you take to steps and then suddenly a jump cut and you’re back where you were a second ago. Miz taps into that.

“Bits and bops with the mandem kotch… swords, dots and a silent mop”. Totally Julie Andrews in mary poppins. So satisfying to say.

The “scary scary” ad lib is so sweet. so cute. Always makes me laugh.

H1- block cypher

Lads night out. Banter. I remember when road rap happened all the kids at school started writing bars on their phones and having battles and all that, those these lot tap into that energy.

1011- next up

“stop that
Back out the mash and drop that, shot that
If you want Buju, man got that
Ban and TT smash it and dot that, chop that
Countryside; where the gwops at
Jump in pics, you ain't bro, man, crop that

risk it, he flipped it
Back out my shank and dip it, ballistic
Push in my shank and twist it
Pebs in cling; that’s Oreo biscuits”

Mary poppins.

Harlem- kennington where it started

“question, if gang pull up are you gonna back your bredrin” is classic. I like the bit before where he runs out of breath as he says “section” and it sounds all like fat man apnea.

“spartans dip like custard creams”

“tryna rip holes and touch man’s skeleton”

the bit where blanco lists who to free, reminds me of am’s great numbers bit from no filter “Three: three on the 3 tryna call my line/Three times three get spun with the nine/ Free GD, TS, S9”

miz does something weird with the rhythm. Sounds like thelonious monk. All funny emphasis on off beats or something. Very physiologically arresting.

His hole tripletty intro bit is epic even before he does that weird shit.

“ten toes on them, splash some gems and throw the thing over gardens”

“stolen cars when they park it, fuck it violate turn to a target, no talking, no barking three-hundred Spartans see them draw for the swords like Shaman”


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What makes you say that? Why not just join in the conversations properly? You obviously have been reading for years. You love the place. It's your passion. Might as well get involved and argue your corner or it's a bit weird.


call me big papa
Need to check this out later thanks Barry

I'm glad you think skengdo is shit too - he's definitely letting down the side in that partnership.