Drill Music’s Rising Influence On NYC Youth

drill music's influence on nyc youth

Youth are among the top music consumers on most music streaming platforms.

Spotify’s recent statistics show that people aged 35 and below are the most Spotify users. This statistic may be influenced by the fact that the youth have easy access to music streaming platforms. It could also be attributed to the fact that this is the age at which one tries to find one’s identity, and music helps them cement their identities.

This is the case for drill music; a lot of the youth from across the world listen to this genre. Over the years, drill music has had a rising influence on the youth in NYC for several reasons that will be addressed in this article. The article will also highlight the ways this music has gained influence on NYC youth.

What is drill music?

Drill is a genre of music under the hip-hop arm that originated in Chicago. “Drill” was a term common in Chicago even before the music came up. It was a slang that referred to acts of involvement in criminal activities. Drill music came to life in the early 2010s, and it has been noted by some to sound similar to trap music and similar to gangster rap in terms of its lyrics.

Drill can be described as distinct, explicit, energetic, and aggressive. The artists use music to depict their living conditions, the things they do to survive in the urban areas, the violence they experience in the streets, and general life details. All these aspects in their music show that drill music expresses some unique rawness and honesty. Some artists of this sub-genre of hip-hop include Chief Keef, King Von, and Polo G. King Louie, who is also a big name in drill.

Chief Keef was among the first drill music artists to ever come up. His single “I don’t like it” was really successful and was one of the songs that mapped drill music to streaming platforms.

Why the drill music industry is growing.

Most drill music artists do not rely on the major recording labels. They opt to go solo, do their own thing, and use online platforms to stream their music.

Another reason why drill music is growing is because of the message it passes. It resonates with so many people and what they have experienced. The more significant population relating to the messages is the youth.

The news outlets have also contributed to the growth of the drill music industry. They do so by featuring stories on the culture associated with drill music. Documentaries of the lives of the drill artists have also been created, which propagates the thirst to know more about the genre.

The more the drill music industry grows, the more the youth are influenced.

Drill music in New York City

Drill music in NYC consists of Brooklyn Drill and Bronx Drill. The NYC drill artists have incorporated a unique style of music that has seen a rise in influence on the youth in NYC.

For a particular piece of music to have an influence on a particular group of people, it means that the music has a recognizable impact on the particular group. The people who listen to that type of music relate to specific aspects of the music. Ways drill music has an influence on the youth include:

1. Social media

Social media has been a resourceful tool in the music industry. Through platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram, the youth participate in the viral trends and challenges to express themselves. Drill music has catchy beats, making it a perfect choice of music for these challenges and trends. This music, like other music genres, can be helpful for students.

The youth learn to be creative in doing what they like; their creativity could lead to recognition of their work through social media.

2. Drill music’s authenticity

The NYC drill artists are honest and very descriptive in their music. They express so much rawness in what they deliver. We have heard people say that the current generation is of expressive and opinionated people who speak their minds without fear or shame. Yes, indeed, that is the case, which is one reason the youth are drawn to drill music. Drill music’s capability to address social issues like gang violence, relationship matters, and survival tactics inspires the youth and thus the popularity with that age group.

3. Language and slang

Drill music is known to have a unique local slang that is quite popular among the youth. The New York drill slang consists of expressions or lines from the drill music that most artists use and, therefore, easily adopted as a sort of local language for the communities that love drill music. The NYC youth, heavy consumers of drill music, use slang in their everyday communication.

4. Fashion

Fashion trends originate from several sources, one of them being music videos. It is common to see people emulate a specific fashion style based on what artists are wearing in their videos.

Streetwear is a common aesthetic fashion trend in NYC among the youth who have fully immersed themselves in the drill culture. The youth get fashion inspiration from the drill videos. The Drill streetwear has become a statement that identifies the influence of Drill music on youth.

Heavy chains, bandanas, face masks, and bold eyewear are some of the accessories considered fashion statement items adopted by the youth due to the influence of drill music.

5. Talent empowerment

A good number of the New York drill rappers are relatively young. Many more young drill rappers are coming up with distinctive drill styles. This motivates the youth to invest in their talents as people their age are doing great for themselves in making music.
The youth with similar interests in the drill music industry form communities where they share ideas and motivate each other to become the best versions of themselves.

The youth learn a lot through apprenticeship. In this case, the youth also learn things like composing music by watching and listening to the existing drill music artists.

6. Cultural impact on NYC youth

Music has been used as an identity identifier for a specific culture. A common exercise students across the world have been given is to write an essay related to music and culture. Drill music has created cultural awareness among the youth through its very expressive nature.

The youth are made aware of the street life, the political debacles, drug abuse, and the many forms of violence that take place in the areas referenced in the music.

Through drill music, the youth learn to be brave and cautious in matters related to gender, race, and relationships. The culture of unity is also fostered through drill music. The things that the drill artists talk about in their music, such as racial discrimination, rationed opportunities, and all sorts of other hardships, affect most people. Therefore, the need to stay united arises. This translates to a sense of togetherness being created among the youth.

Controversies and challenges

Controversies associated with drill music

There is a great deal of controversial stories we hear and articles we read based on the drill music industry. Just like any other genre of music, drill music also faces challenges. Drill music videos are lyrics known by some to be graphic in that they often promote a narrative that gang crime and violence are okay.

An instance of a drill music controversy arises due to the belief that drill music is not ‘morally upright.’ The artists sometimes receive a lot of criticism, even when that is not the narrative they are spreading. This stereotypical thinking has led to people associating the people who listen to such music with violence tolerance.

Challenges arising from drill music

Although there are those drill listeners who are wrongly judged, there are other people who are influenced to follow the violent ways and ardent drug abuse that they pick from the drill music content. This is one of the greatest challenges of drill music: the negative influence it may have on the youth and general society.
The fact that many drill music artists are already in the industry could challenge new and aspiring artists to establish themselves.

The drill artists and industry, in general, may be victims of community backlash, which could lead to limitations like venue restrictions and even explicit scenarios like cancellation of events.

The future of drill music in NYC

There’s looming growth in the genre of drill music in the future in NYC. The challenges currently being experienced, like the stereotypical view towards the genre, will be minimal as we enter an era where people learn to be more open-minded and less judgmental.

The artists’ hardships will also be reduced in the coming years as there will be technological and economic growth in NYC and the world.
The youth will also dominate the genre as more and more share their talents with the world. This fact will also ensure that new sounds are discovered, and collaborations with other genre artists are done.

In the age of social media, the future, which will be more technologically advanced, will ensure that the drill music culture in NYC will spread out and have a global influence.


The youth, being the future generation, must be very keen on filtering what they consume. They should be able to enjoy drill music and not be involved in violence and drug abuse. The hip-hop sub-genre is rapidly transforming and becoming more popular in places other than NYC; thus, youth worldwide are influenced. Drill music is a great cultural tool in NYC that educates and creates awareness of NYC experiences.


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