LONDON (Reuters) - Five London gang members who made ‘drill music’, a niche form of hip-hop that glorifies violence and has been linked by police to a surge in knife crime, received jail sentences on Monday for planning an attack on a rival gang.
The young men from the Notting Hill area of west London, aged between 17 and 21, were arrested last November armed with machetes, baseball bats, masks, balaclavas and gloves.
They initially told police the items were props to make a drill music video, but later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit violent disorder. They had been embroiled in a feud with a gang from nearby Shepherd’s Bush.
The court was shown seven drill music videos, which prosecutors said demonstrated how the group had been promoting violence.
One song called “No Hook” included sounds of gunshots and lyrics about shooting and stabbing such as “Ching (stab) Splash (stab) aim for his lungs,” police said.
The five received sentences ranging up to three-and-a-half years.
Prosecutors are also seeking criminal behaviour orders that would ban the men from making drill music for three to five years. A hearing on that issue will be held on Friday.
An increase in knife crime pushed London’s murder rate over that of New York in February and March, for the first time in modern history.
Some social workers have disputed the link between drill music and gang violence, saying cuts in youth services due to fiscal austerity measures are likely to be a more direct cause.
Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Kevin Liffey