The debate between the UK needing/wanting American co-signs is back and in full force, only the dynamic has changed.
Stormzy arguably reignited this topic through his latest track ‘Sounds of the Skeng’ which includes the lyric:
You man love the American’s too muchStormzy – Sounds of the Skeng
This sparked plenty of arguments about the UK no longer needing that co-sign or even striving for it anymore, contrasted with arguments about American artists never showing love to UK artists.
Wiley chimed in on the discussion and went at Drake, or more accurately the way people perceive Drake, for being a person that gains a lot more from UK musicians than he gives back. This is an argument that won’t be settled anytime soon.
Personally, I think Drake has done wonders for many UK artists profiles across the pond, as well as having been integral in bringing back a key part of Black British culture in Top Boy. He is the wrong example of an American artist to pick out as not supporting, I also find it funny that Drake is constantly spoken of in the American context even though he’s Canadian.
In light of this, something interesting happened. Whether it was a consequence of the discussion or if organically there was some progress. D Block Europe released their latest track ‘Nookie’ which features QC star Lil Baby, QC being the label home of the Migos, Lil Yachty, City Girls, and more. Contrary to standard, first and foremost Lil Baby actually appears in the video alongside DBE, but secondly, he actually promoted it on his own socials.
It is this second part that suggests some level of progress especially in light of the UK-US collaborative project The Plug, which had little to no promotion from the American’s involved. Considering DBE were also on that project and got a feature from Offset (Migos) to have a fellow QC artist really seem to show love shows a step in the right direction.
So what does Pop Smoke and New York Drill have to do with this?
Well Pop Smoke is one of the hottest upcoming properties in the American music scene. With tracks like ‘Welcome To The Party’ and ‘Dior’ doing huge numbers, he is clearly a star in the making. What makes him and his sound so interesting is that New York Drill takes more from the UK Drill scene than it does from the founding Drill sound of Chicago.
A lot of Pop Smoke’s tracks are produced by UK producer 808 Melo, and it is his production you hear on the aforementioned ‘Welcome To The Party’ and ‘Dior’. Add to that Pop Smoke’s flow, it is closer to the skippy drill flow than anything typical of Chicago drill. It’s a wonder how the comments section is littered with people trying to deny the UK influence.
I have never heard or seen Pop Smoke verify or deny whether he is influenced by the UK sound, but it is there to see. This fact is not lost on all American’s, A$AP Ferg picked up on this straight away when shown some of Pop Smoke’s music in a recent Genius video. This again to me shows progress in the debate as we are seeing American’s not only use our producers, but actively acknowledge that it is our sound influencing theirs.
But it’s not anything that even really needs to be said or shouted about, we know that the UK is a musical powerhouse. We have shown that all we need is our own audience and internal appreciation as that is strong enough now to propel careers faster than any haphazard American crossover. Not to mention that there have been some organic and very dope ones such as A$AP Rocky and Skepta on ‘Praise The Lord’.
To me there’s no need for an argument about New York Drill’s origins, it is UK Drill’s child and siblings with Australia’s fledgeling Drill scene. That is a fact, anybody who chooses to deny this is either ignorant to the two sounds or are aware of both sounds and choosing to be willfully ignorant.
All it takes is a quick YouTube search to educate yourself on the subject after all. But what it also proves to me is not that we love the American’s too much, good music is good music after all. It proves that the American’s care about us way more than they would ever be willing to admit and that they pay closer attention than we think.
The UK is the trend at the moment, we create new sounds and do so effortlessly and without a huge fuss or denial if inspiration is ever taken from anywhere else. We don’t love the American’s too much because they don’t matter as much as the debate would make you think.