Nigeria enfolds different and newly migrated sounds in warm, receptive arms, housing a diverse range of fusion sounds. This has created a large repertoire of a variety of sounds explored in Nigeria including Drill rap. A scion of trap, Drill takes its roots from the South Side of Chicago in the early 2010s. However, the emergence of new, prominent drill artists from Brooklyn such as Chief Keef, Lil Durk, Pop Smoke, Sheff G, Fivio Foreign, and 22Gz helped to globally popularise the sound. Pop Smoke’s “Dior” is an astounding hit that can be said to have paved the way for a general, but tentative acceptance of the sound worldwide. Drill is characterized by the gritty, metallic beats, the dance steps, and the hardcore bars embedded in heavy bass.
UK drill which has its influence from grime and road rap rose from the South London district and gained prominence in 2012. It is noted for its deep probe into themes that pertain to gang life and street violence. Big Shaq’s “Man’s Not Hot” swooped in and blew the world away with its witty, catchy lyrics and its solid beats. Regardless of its viral success, the sound was easily knocked off from the top and replaced with more common genres.
Nonetheless, drill has infiltrated the Nigerian society and it is an unmistakable presence in the music industry, however, in the underground space. Acts like Jaiye, Droxx, King Pells, Nero, Mo’Gunz, PSIV, Odumodu Blvck, L.K etc, are experimenting with the sound and creating nuanced perspectives from its integration with Afro culture, leading to the birth of the +234 Drill. In 2021, Styles’ “Looseguard” (I see, I saw) introduced a major dip into the otherwise uncharted territory of drill in Nigeria. The song, which was a social media rave, shaped a burgeoning demand by the vast majority of Nigerians who were largely unfamiliar with that peculiar sound. As usual, the song’s fame did not last long. The nascent nature of the sound amplified its vulnerability and caused it to be overtaken by the tides of other mainstream sounds.
Recently, though, young African acts such as Psycho YP, Black Sherif, Tomi Obanure, Jeriq, King Perry, etc, are pushing the sound with their great musical compositions. Their contributions have helped to garner collaborations with top Nigerian artists to create a sort of hybridised variant of drill in order to expand its reach. +234 drill features a magnetism that intensifies the listening experience of individual listeners, piquing their interests and exposing them to the nitty-gritty of the sound. +234 drill is not just a sound, it is a culture with its own fashion sense, language, and dance styles. It is an avenue where middle/lower class concerns which are mostly perforated by crime, poverty, and deprivation can be transported to a wide audience via expertful artistic vehicles. +234 drill is a sound of the streets that represents street life in all its dark glory. The ways that Nigerian artistes have been able to stir Afrobeats with drill to produce masterful creations contained within +234 drill testifies to the great potentials of the sound.