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“If She Want Drill, She Better Come With the Tool”

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at San Francisco chapter.

Drill music has been making its re-emergence in the music industry and is possibly one of the most recognized subgenres of hip-hop right now. However, it has not always sounded as distinguishable as it does today. This style of music had its genesis in the early to mid-2010s in Chicago and was dubbed Chicago Drill. Although being one of the top 10 cities people desire to visit when in America (mainly due to gentrification), Chicago is also notorious for its culture of gang violence. Without culture, there is no music, whether the influence is positive or negative, culture cultivates creativity within communities to bring them closer by sharing/expressing their similar experiences. That was the case here. In a Complex article explaining the drill scene, Chicago drill producer Chase Davis, who has worked with Lil Durk, King Louie, and other drill musicians, states that drill “is the soundtrack to the violence that’s going on in the city.” The braggadocious lyricism portrayed in Chicago drill represents the gang lifestyle infamously seen in areas like Woodlawn, Chicago (“Dro City”). Pac Man, a local artist who is often referred to as one of the pioneering drill musicians, first introduced the term after his single “It’s a Drill.” The term “drill” is used to describe a shooting. Pac Man influenced many of the Chicago drill artists we now know and love such as Chief Keef, who also became one of the faces of this subgenre with his 2012 hit single “I Don’t Like.” Chicago drill music taps into both Atlanta trap music and Chicago hip-hop. Drill-type music has reached places far and wide, eventually developing its own style in the U.K. which carried over to Brooklyn. Now, with their own interpretation of it, Brooklyn Drill is a mixture of American drill artists and British drill producers. 

Ice Spice, born Isis Gaston has recently made her debut within the genre, creating a sound and flow that is inimitable. She has more of a pop-drill style, with catchy lyrics that leave no space for interruption while singing along. The New York Times describes her rapping abilities as equanimous, letting all her words linger, making you want more. She had been writing poetry since she was a child and drawing inspiration from her father who had a heavy influence on her, encouraging her to freestyle about her days at school. 

During her college years, majoring in Communications at SUNY Purchase, she met a friend and later producer who is mainly referred to as RiotUSA. The two shared many interests in making music and eventually decided to start working together. Ice Spice began honing in on her music writing in 2019 after the eruption of Brooklyn drill, and later released her first single titled “Bully Freestyle” in 2021. Since then, she had released a few more singles, like the hit “No Clarity” sampling Zedd’s 2012 hit “Clarity.” While these songs increased her traction, it was not until her song “Munch (Feelin’ U),” that she began receiving major attention. With all the hype surrounding her, fans could not get enough, they wanted more, and she delivered, dropping her first EP titled “Likee…?” which is a word that is becoming a trademark for her. Ice Spice is now becoming a face for the New York hip-hop/drill scene, and is collaborating with other prominent drill musicians, like PinkPantheress in their latest song “Boy’s a Liar Pt.2.” 

Molly Gutierrez

San Francisco '24

Hi! My name is Molly Gutierrez and I am currently a 3rd year at San Francisco State University majoring in Ethnic Studies with a focus on Race and Resistance, and a double minor in journalism and marketing. I am on the writing team at the San Francisco Chapter, and extremely grateful for the opportunity to be apart of this community! I am passionate about subjects such as MUSIC, pop culture, social justice, media, and self-care. I hope to relay my knowledge of these topics to whomever is willing to read it.