Last month, two “drill” musicians, Skengdo and AM from the Brixton group 410, were given nine-month suspended sentences. Their crime? Performing their song Attempted 1.0 at a gig in December. In so doing, they breached a court injunction issued in August.
Yes, well, when you breach a court injunction, that’s what happens.
There is a long history of moral panics about music. From jazz to rock’n’roll to punk to hip-hop, popular music has often been portrayed as morally depraved.
Sure. Elvis’s hip gyrations were considered shocking by the stuffed shirts. But he wasn’t singing about how he was going to kill fellow musicians…
According to Cressida Dick, the commissioner of the Metropolitan police, drill music is about “glamorising serious violence”, with lyrics that describe “stabbings in great detail, joy and excitement”.
So, hardly the same thing.
Glamorising violence is not, however, a criminal offence. If it were, everything from American Psycho to Zulu could be banned.
If you think those movies ‘glamorised violence’, you didn’t really understand them.
The injunction against Skengdo and AM forbids them from mentioning death, injury or rival crews in their songs. Other groups, such as 1011, have been served with similar injunctions.
The police clampdown reveals the increasing use of administrative sanctions as a means of bypassing the judicial process.
No, it reveals the extent to which the justice system is having to go to secure a conviction against these people, despite how solid the case might seem to normal observers.
The attempt by the police to redefine “incitement” and the willingness of the courts to potentially imprison musicians for performing “unacceptable” songs are assaults on basic liberties.
Yeah, get back to me when the Met rock up to Tom Jones’ dressing room and warn him not to sing ‘Delilah’…
Many on the left have become so supportive of censorship that they barely notice. Many on the right who often holler about free speech violations remain silent about the censorship of marginalised black musicians.
These aren’t ‘musicians’. They are street thugs with a backing track.