Meet The Female Rappers Disrupting The UK Drill Boys Club
The UK Drill scene is amongst the youngest in the country’s music space. First pioneered by groups such as 67, we have seen the genre progress and produce some of the most successful artists in the UK rap game.
With the ascent of Headie One and Digga D, amongst others, UK drill has even been commercialised, which few would have predicted given the discourse surrounding its content. From bans to government plans, in a short period the impact drill has had is indisputable. In more recent years, we have seen the genre diversify, as women have now become more prominent within it.
Whilst they didn’t get the accolades they deserved at the time, Mela Twins were amongst the first to break the female drill scene. With their debut 'Fleek Bop', listeners were introduced to the possibility of a less male dominated drill scene and this essentially opened up the floor. Since then, we have seen several rap girls showcase their stake in the genre and let us know that the drill scene is no longer a boys' club.
Here are just some of the ones making waves in the scene right now.
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With nearly 10 years in the rap game, Shaybo isn’t a novice at all. Many would have known her from her heavyweight freestyle diss over Vybz Kartel’s 'Gal A Weh Do You' in 2011. With intelligent word play and witty entendres, many were sad to see her disappearance from the scene in the mid 2010’s.
However, in 2019 ShayBo made an explosive comeback with her 'HB Freestyle' and hasn’t let up since. Shaybo continues to display her charisma through singles and freestyles including her Daily Duppy and 'Ya Dun Know', letting us know she’s ready and willing to lead in the art of female drill.
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Over the past few years we have seen the UK rap game de-centralise from London, but haven’t seen this expansion bring many women rapping regionally to the forefront.
However, despite being new to the scene, Cardiff-based drill artist Juice Menace offers a unique charm in the drill space. Representing the Welsh massive with new singles such as 'No Speaking' and lyrically strong 'Bounterfeit', we can expect to see big things from her in the coming months.
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Beginning solely as a YouTuber, Ivorian Doll was an unexpected storm in the drill space. After releasing 'The Situation' (feat. Abigail Asante), her talent shone and she hasn’t rested her work rate since.
But it was 'Rumours' which really showcased her lyrical ability. Making light of attempts to slut- shame her, Ivorian Doll was able to capitalise off of reductive allegations which would have otherwise been detrimental to her livelihood.
Performing at award ceremonies such as Rated, as well as this year’s virtual Wireless Festival, there is no doubt her career as a drill rapper is on an upward trajectory.
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Brixton-born rapper, Cristale brings a refreshing sound to the genre.
In an interview with Reprezent (YBE) in early September, the artist cited Busta Rhymes and Biggie Smalls as influences and these show through her dynamic flow and clever punchlines in singles such as 'Whites' and her 'Opp Thot Freestyle'. Whilst she’s just beginning, we are definitely not seeing the end of her terrain in drill.
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Despite being just 18 years old, TeeZando’s abilities are far beyond her years. The Hackney based drill rapper is not afraid to stand out, even stating she wants to be the “oddest one” on her single 'Need Focu's, and she hasn’t blended into the crowd since.
Nominated for the Rated Awards’ Female Artist of the Year (alongside fellow list-ee’s ShayBo and Ivorian Doll), music lovers are definitely routing for the ascension of one of drill’s youngest players.
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Words: Tochi Imo
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