What Is Drill Music?

Drill music is a popular genre among teens, often considered a subgenre of hip-hop. It resonates with the youth due to its raw and realistic portrayal of life, especially in urban areas. 

You might have encountered drill music without recognizing it, as it’s not as mainstream as other genres. However, with its growing fan base, many drill music tracks are now easily found in various playlists.

Read on to learn more about drill music, including its definition, origins, notable songs and artists, and its national and international forms. You won’t want to miss these details!

Drill Music: Definition

Drill music is characterized by its harsh and violent lyrics, often reflecting the struggles and realities of urban life. It is considered a form of trap music within the hip-hop genre. The word “drill” itself has a connotation related to violence, symbolizing the use of automatic weapons.

What Is Drill Music?

Drill music is distinguished by its aggressive content and unique dance styles. It doesn’t follow conventional rules, making it easily identifiable once you understand its tone.

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Where Did Drill Music Start?

Drill music originated in the southern part of Chicago, particularly in areas like Dro City and the Woodlawn Neighborhood, known for high gang activity. This music form deeply resonates with the local culture and experiences, making it highly influential in those regions. To truly appreciate drill music, one must understand its roots and characteristics.

Characteristics of Drill Music

Drill music has three main characteristics:

  1. Lyrics: The lyrics are often violent, harsh, and realistic, depicting the tough conditions faced by people in urban areas. They use slang to create a raw and straightforward narrative about topics like death, drugs, and crime.
  2. Tone and Production: Drill music typically features drum machine beats with a tempo of 60 to 70 beats per minute. It shares similarities with trap music, offering catchy, crisp tones with varied sounds. Different types of drill music exist, but Chicago drill music is considered the most prominent.
  3. Flow: The flow of drill music is inspired by the environment of southern Chicago and the Woodlawn Neighborhood. It often conveys strong emotional and violent themes. The music’s flow includes the use of autotune to create a distinctive sound.

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Top 10 Examples of Drill Music

Add these trending drill music tracks to your playlist:

  1. “Welcome to the Party” – Pop Smoke
  2. “Know Better” – Headie One and RV
  3. “Crazy Story” – King Von
  4. “Big Drip” – Fivio Foreign
  5. “Suburban” – 22gz
  6. “No Suburban” – Sheff G
  7. “Dior” – Pop Smoke
  8. “New Apolos” – Smoove’L
  9. “Deep End Freestyle” – Sleepy Hallow
  10. “Treeshin” – Rah Swish

Top Drill Musicians of the Time

Here are some of the top drill musicians you should definitely listen to:

  • Pop Smoke
  • Chief Keef
  • Lil Durk
  • King Louie
  • Lil Bibby
  • G Herbo
  • Fredo Santana
  • Lil Reese
  • Headie One
  • Nicki Minaj

International Drill Music Characteristics

While Chicago drill music is the most renowned, international forms like Brooklyn drill and UK drill have also gained popularity.

These variations have their own unique features. Unlike Chicago drill, Brooklyn and UK drill music often uses less autotune. Additionally, they cover a broader range of topics beyond violence, such as personal experiences and social issues.

What Is Drill Music?

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is it called drill music?

Drill music originated as a voice for people experiencing violence in southern Chicago. The term “drill” in this context means to fight, reflecting the genre’s roots.

2. What does drill stand for in music?

In drill music, “drill” represents the use of slang to describe automatic weapons, symbolizing the ongoing violence and dark themes prevalent in the genre.


Drill music is a powerful genre that gives a voice to urban experiences, reflecting harsh realities through its lyrics and tone. Whether it’s the raw narratives of Chicago drill or the broader themes of Brooklyn and UK drill, this music form continues to influence and resonate with listeners worldwide. If you enjoyed this article, share it with your friends and family, and let us know your thoughts in the comments. Thank you for reading!

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