Music Briefs: UK Drill


UK Drill is a dynamic and influential subgenre of drill music and road rap that emerged on the streets of Brixton, South London, around 2012. Its raw and gritty resonance, typical for the British adaptation of gangster rap that gained popularity in the years preceding drill’s emergence, distinguishes the sound. The genre frequently incorporates aggressive lyrics, dark melodies, and intricate drill beats combined to represent the reality of urban life in the United Kingdom.

Explore the origins and evolution of this dynamic genre, where catchy rhythms, UK pronunciation, and witnessing the life on the streets represent the genre. Also, remember to properly tag your entries when uploading your submissions so we can find and promote them on the Pond5 marketplace.


History of UK Drill

The UK drill scene evolved its distinct sound and style, distinguished by dark, bass-heavy beats and lyrics that frequently reference violence and crime. 150 (now known as GBG), a group from Brixton’s Angell Town Estate, is widely regarded as the pioneer of the genre. Stickz, M Dargg, and Grizzy (stylized as GR1ZZY) were committed exponents of the early form. Enthusiasts frequently regard 67 for moving the sound away from the Chicago influences in its early days toward a more independent tone. These early drill musicians began streaming their music to platforms like YouTube and SoundCloud, where it gained traction among a young, diverse fan base.

A VICE article divided the evolution of the UK Drill into three separate phases:

  • The initial phase, which lasted from 2014 to 2018, marked the genre’s creation as a distinct British phenomenon. This period peaked in 2016 with the release of “Let’s Lurk” by 67, which featured Giggs.
  • However, due to its unfiltered character, UK Drill received rejection from mainstream music platforms, requiring a reliance on music videos for broad exposure. This lack of censorship resulted in the use of Form 696 to cancel drill artist performances.
  • In early 2017, the Harlem Spartans’ release of “Kennington Where It Started” was regarded as a turning point moment, catapulting UK Drill from underground to mainstream fame in the eyes of fans.



UK Drill Characteristics

UK Drill developed a distinct production style influenced by Chicago drill while drawing on British genres such as grime and UK garage. Producers created tracks with fast-paced rhythms and gloomy themes, using features like sliding bass and hard-hitting kicks. The genre’s beats frequently use an Afro-diasporic-influenced tresillo hi-hat pattern, contributing to its distinct sound. UK Drill lyrics can be blunt and combative, reflecting the harsh reality of urban living.

  • Aggressive Lyrics: UK Drill lyrics often depict the harsh realities of street life, including themes of violence, crime, and social issues. Artists use vivid imagery and wordplay to convey their experiences and perspectives.
  • Dark Melodies: The music of UK Drill often incorporates ominous melodies and haunting chord progressions, setting a tense and atmospheric mood that complements the lyrical content.
  • Complex Drill Beats: Drill beats typically feature syncopated rhythms, intricate hi-hat patterns, and hard-hitting 808 basslines. The tempo is usually around 140-150 BPM, creating a sense of urgency and intensity.
  • Authentic Street Sound: UK Drill artists often incorporate local culture and slang elements into their music, giving it an authentic and relatable edge. This connection to the streets resonates with listeners and adds depth to the genre.
  • Incorporation of Diverse Elements: UK Drill may draw inspiration from other genres, including grime, Afrobeat, and various versions of gangsta rap. This fusion of styles keeps the genre fresh and allows for experimentation and innovation.



Pond5 Examples of UK Drill Music

Listen to the tracks dedicated to the genre and get inspired for your next production.


Submission ideas

  • Submit tracks that are between 1:00 and 3:00 minutes long.
  • The BPM should range from 138 to 151 BPM.
  • The UK drill-type beat is typically built around an Afro-diaspora-influenced tresillo hi-hat pattern, with the snare landing on the fourth beat of every two bars instead of the third.
  • Don’t limit yourself to using vocals. Even though it’s a central element of UK Drill, purely instrumental tracks and beats are also welcome!



  • Take advantage of the 50-keyword limit and add both broad and specific keywords. Please do not use a recognizable band or artist name!
  • We also encourage you to submit separate :15 and :30 versions of these tracks for social media use.
  • Don’t forget to add UKDRILLP5BRIEF among your keywords so we can track down and promote your content.
  • Please note you can apply tags to existing tracks in your portfolio.

Top Image: Two Dynamic Teenagers In Posh Attire Performing Vogue Dance In Loft Studio by pressmaster .

Don’t forget to check out our other Music Briefs articles.