Unknown T [@unknwnt9]: “Drillers got emotions too.”

Words by: Blossom Maduafokwa

Unknown T has been special since his debut and with the release of his latest tape he’s begun to open up more in his music.

Shortly before dropping his long awaited tape Adolescence, Drill star Unknown T released a live performance of four tracks from the project: “Driller Sh!t”, “EAST”, “Tugman Vacation”, and “GLEE”.

While we haven’t seen live performances from many in the Drill scene, Unknown T is slowly turning the format into his new normal. After all, he dropped the tape’s first pre-released track “Goodums” through an unmatched live performance on global music platform COLORS. T’s delivery, presentation, and unrelenting flow shook fans and casual viewers alike, setting a new standard for Drill and creating the rare phenomenon of a performance that’s better than the recorded track.

His Adolescence Live Performance works in the same vein. There is an inherent vulnerability required in creating a stripped-down live performance, particularly for an artist whose brand is, literally, being unknown. T, however, gives viewers a clear view of not just his voice and flow, but also of his emotional journey. He sits on a circular platform, surrounded by bouquets of dried flowers and solemnly stares at a brittle rose held in his hands.

In the live performance of “Tugman Vacation”, he slides through lyrics about a man who – possibly on an illegal mission or stuck in a jail cell – is missing his girl. The song is still Drill, of course, but it approaches Drill from a different angle, one that is highly intimate and personal. The full Adolescence tape only expands on the emotional sensitivity expressed in the performance, with soulful tracks like “Sweet Lies” and a song about T’s religious journey called “Bible Love”.

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Don’t get me wrong: Unknown T has always been and forever will be a standout in Drill. His flow is undefeated, and not too many artists can jump on Drill, slow rap and Afroswing with the ease and dexterity that T does. (Plus, it should be mentioned that he really and truly does have a great voice). The only difference is that he’s now using a new weapon to set himself apart: vulnerability. And, what’s more, no one can deny that it’s working. Unknown T is now on a journey adamant to make sure that he is known – both inside as well as out.

“I really opened up to you lot on this tape. I want you lot to see the other half. It’s not all ching and rap. Drillers got emotions too.”

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