One in four London gang murders linked to 'drill' rap music

A quarter of London’s gang murders are linked to violent ‘drill’ rap music that glamourises violence, study shows

  • Report from Policy Exchange looked at ten years of data in relation to knife crime
  • Study found that four of five London murder victims are black or ethnic minority
  • Figures show that at least 25% of gang-related stabbings are linked to revenge 

More than a quarter of London’s gang murders are linked to ‘drill’ music that glamorises violence, a study has revealed.

The report, which criticised Scotland Yard’s approach to knife crime, noted that black or ethnic minority people make up more than 80 per cent of gang-related murder victims in the capital.

Black people in London are five times more likely than white people to be hospitalised due to a stabbing, the Policy Exchange report found.

The analysis of ten years of data found that a combination of drill rap, social media, tit-for-tat revenge attacks and failures in police strategy are causing dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries each year.

At least 25 per cent of gang-related stabbings are linked to revenge, with social media posts and online ‘scoreboards’ leading to a never-ending cycle of violence, the report said.

More than a quarter of London’s gang murders are linked to ‘drill’ music that glamorises violence, a study has revealed. Pictured: Police on scene after 20-year-old Crosslon Davis – a member of the drill group Harlem Spartans – was stabbed to death in Deptford back in 2019

Specifically, the analysis found that of the 41 gang-related homicides in 2018, at least 15 (36 per cent) were directly linked to drill music, where either the victim or perpetrator was an aspiring drill rapper, or drill videos were used as evidence in the trial. This figure was 23 per cent for the 44 gang-related homicides in 2019.

Drill rappers are known to taunt rival gangs in their music videos with threats of extreme violence, which often become a reality.

Crosslon Davis, 20, a member of the Harlem Spartans drill group, was hacked to death by four youths in Deptford, south-east London in December 2019. Elijah Morgan, 20, and Jedaiah Param, 21, were jailed for a minimum of 28 years in April.

Huge brands are being blamed for encouraging the violent taunts by paying the rappers to endorse products or offering free merchandise to wear in the music videos. The Daily Mail revealed in 2018 that Adidas was one such company.

Pictured: 20-year-old Crosslon Davis was a member of the Harlem Spartans drill group when was hacked to death by four youths in Deptford, south-east London in December 2019

The Policy Exchange report also names the company, highlighting its social media campaign with drill rapper Irving Adjei, just three weeks before he was jailed for possessing a knife last year.

Adidas rejected the claims, saying: ‘We condemn all forms of violence and in no way condone gang culture or the carrying of knifes.’

The damning report found little evidence of any long-term strategy working to reduce knife crime, despite boasts from London Mayor Sadiq Khan about the effectiveness of his policies.

Policy Exchange senior fellow Trevor Phillips said: ‘If we are to reduce the number of young Londoners – and yes, especially black boys – being killed… we have to start by being realistic about who this is affecting, where and why.’

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