Mon. Aug 8th, 2022

A quarter of London’s gang murders are linked to violent ‘drill’ rap music that glorifies violence, research shows

  • Report from Policy Exchange looked at ten years of data in relation to knife crime
  • Investigation showed that four out of five homicide victims in London are black or ethnic minorities
  • Figures show that at least 25% of gang-related stabbings are linked to revenge


More than a quarter of London’s gang murders are linked to ‘drill’ music that glamorises violence, a study shows.

The report, which criticized Scotland Yards’ approach to knife crime, noted that black or ethnic minorities make up more than 80 percent of gang-related homicide victims in the capital.

Black people in London are five times more likely than whites to be hospitalized because of a stabbing, the Policy Exchange report found.

The analysis of ten years of data showed that a combination of drill rap, social media, often-too-revenge attacks and failures in police strategy cause dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries each year.

At least 25 percent of gang-related stabbings are linked to revenge, with postings on social media and online ‘scoreboards’ leading to an endless cycle of violence, the report said.

More than a quarter of London's gang murders are linked to 'drill' music that glamorises violence, a study shows.  Pictured: Police on the spot after 20-year-old Crosslon Davis - a member of the drilling group Harlem Spartans - was stabbed to death in Deptford back in 2019

More than a quarter of London’s gang murders are linked to ‘drill’ music that glamorises violence, a study shows. Pictured: Police on the spot after 20-year-old Crosslon Davis – a member of the drilling group Harlem Spartans – was stabbed to death in Deptford back in 2019

Specifically, the analysis found that of the 41 gang-related killings in 2018, at least 15 (36 percent) were directly linked to drill music, where either the victim or perpetrator was a hopeful drill rapper, or drill videos were used as evidence in the trial. That figure was 23 percent for the 44 gang-related killings in 2019.

It is known that drill rappers mock rival gangs in their music videos with threats of extreme violence, which often become a reality.

Crosslon Davis, 20, a member of the Harlem Spartans drilling rig, was hacked to death by four youths in Deptford, south-east London in December 2019. Elijah Morgan, 20, and Jedaiah Param, 21, were jailed for a minimum of 28 years in April.

Giant brands are blamed for encouraging the violent insults by paying the rappers to approve products or offering free merchandise to carry in the music videos. The Daily Mail revealed in 2018 that Adidas was one such company.

Pictured: 20-year-old Crosslon Davis was a member of the Harlem Spartans drilling rig when he was hacked to death by four youths in Deptford, south-east London in December 2019

Pictured: 20-year-old Crosslon Davis was a member of the Harlem Spartans drilling rig when he was hacked to death by four youths in Deptford, south-east London in December 2019

The Policy Exchange report also names the company and highlights its social media campaign with drill rapper Irving Adjei, just three weeks before he was jailed for possessing a knife last year.

Adidas rejected the allegations, saying: ‘We condemn all forms of violence and in no way tolerate gang culture or the carrying of knives.’

The condemnatory report found little evidence of any long-term strategy working to reduce knife crime, despite praise from London Mayor Sadiq Khan for the effectiveness of his policies.

Political Exchange senior colleague Trevor Phillips said: ‘If we are to reduce the number of young Londoners – and yes, especially black boys – who are being killed … we need to start by being realistic about who it affects, where and why.’

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