Drill music started in Chicago, USA, in the early 2010s. It is defined by its dark, violent, and nihilistic lyrical content and ominous trap-influenced beats. It has been heavily criticised due to the similarity of its early innovators’ association with gangs and criminal activities. It went mainstream in 2012 following the successes of Chief Keef, Lil Durk, Young Chop, Lil Reese, and Fredo Santana.
On the other side of the Atlantic, UK Drill music has also enjoyed similar mainstream success as its sister genre. This genre borrows heavily from Chicago‘s drill music, which is fused with Brixton‘s road rap.
Afrodrill, a new underground music genre that enjoys a fanbase mostly made up of teenagers and adolescents in Nigeria. Onwusonye Samuel Ikonkwu, popularly dubbed Styles, released a drill cover that went viral earlier this year. This made way to his first official (hit) single, Loose Guard after the cover was taken down due to copyright issues on Audiomack.
“Actually, my first encounter with drill music. Right from time, listened to drill music a lot. There is a particular UK artist (G4 Boyz) that used drill beats a lot. I loved it. l have the song, I loved it. There was this particular beat (Prada) I fell in love with. I was like ‘Damn I love this beat! Let me use this beat and do something.’ So, I downloaded the beat, and practiced with it, and I was like ‘let me do something different, let me not just..’ Because this is already a drill beat, and going the foreign way will make the song look foreign. So I had to use something that a normal Nigerian person would have sang on a Nigerian beat, I used it to sing it on a drill beat to create out that unique style. And I say ‘why don’t I make it a kind of funny, so people can cruise with it’.
“That was how it all started, when I did my first single, I see I saw (Loose Guard). So I used it on a drill beat and it worked. That’s how it all started.”
“It has been long I started writing. It has been very very long. I think, errrrr, that was my, JSS2. That was when I officially started writing and putting in all my efforts to, you know, do this. And since then, I’ve had a lot of artists inspiring me. Foreign. Mostly foreign because you rarely see someone doing drill in Nigeria. Influencing me, Pop Smoke, G4 Boyz and the rest of them. Yeah! I looked at them, but I didn’t try to copy their style. No! I just do what they do, but I do mine”
“My plans for 2021 is … First of all, it has been God all the way, who brought me through all this. And bringing to this position I am in. So, my plans are simple. Just with the Grace of God, owning my sound. Nigeria needs to hear more of Afrodrill music. Afrodrill should become its own genre in the music industry.”
“Making Afrodrill a genre of music in Nigeria is my aim, and it has happened already with I see I saw (Loose Guard). It’s all about maintaining it, so, I’ve dropped my second single, Selfish, which I’ve been pushing on TikTok and the rest. Planning to drop an album. Owning my sound. Doing a lot of things. Trying a lot of new beats (genre), but with a relation to drill (genre-fusion), whether afro or any other beat (genre). Representing Nigeria, fully 100%”
Styles features on JJC, as he is pushing for the introduction of a new sub-genre, Afrodrill to the music industry’s mainstream, in a short period. The rapper clocked 21 on March 3rd, with nothing but determination and gut feeling, he is certain to put the Afrodrill genre permanently in the music industry’s mainstream category.
We wish him all the best in the coming years and hope to feature him soon in Rhyme & Reason® Underground Kings or Rhyme & Reason® Playas.