It’s A Drill!: The Sound That Has Music Labels Flocking To The Windy City


Feeling like hype club music has taken a turn to the softer side of things? Sure, you could spin a Juicy J record around and around until the needle snaps off, but does that really satisfy your fist slapping, moshpit stomping needs? One could throw on Lil Jon, but that’s seven years old!

Introducing “drill” music, a revolutionary new way to get hype in an old familiar way. You may be thinking, “What’s drill music?” And, while many are cognizant of the goings on with one of the biggest new music movements, major labels are not.

In a matter of months, numerous artists under the drill moniker have received major deals and many more are being targeted. Chief Keef recently signed a deal with Interscope, and his associates Lil Reece and Lil Durk have signed with Def Jam. King Louie, a more veteran driller, signed with Sony/Epic Records, and even those associated with associates have been receiving major attention.

But let’s back up a minute. Again, what is drill music? The term “drill” first surfaced from late Chicago rapper, Pacman. He and his cousin Fatzmack were the first to associate the term with the music.

“The drill word started with Pacman, and basically it meant to retaliate on your enemy, so with the music, there were only a few people that rapped,” says Fatzmack. “[Pacman] started the whole drill music because he was rapping about what was really going on in the ‘hood, so everyone could vibe to what he was saying. We just took the drill term and put it with the music, and that’s how we came up with drill music.”

According to veteran Chicago Hip-Hop duo L.E.P. Bogus Boyz, the term “drill” is a slang term that can be used for anything from females getting dolled up to all out war in the streets.

“Instead of everyone saying they getting hype, they called it ‘drill,’” Moonie explains.

After receiving over 12 million views on YouTube, Chief Keef’s spring banger, “I Don’t Like”, is perhaps the most recognizable song that could be classified as “drill.”

Keef has helped Chicago’s newest movement receive major web hype, and it doesn’t stop there. Recently, Kanye West threw his support behind many young drillers, including Keef and Louie. His backing has only thrown gas on an already raging fire.

“I was kind of shocked. I had seen it coming but I was shocked that it happened so fast,” says DJ Victoriouz, tour DJ for Chief Keef, King Louie, and others. “Everyone got they eyes on Chicago right now. Major artists, major labels;  everybody is watching Chicago, and they want to be a part of it.”

Unlike other Hip-Hop “movements” that start from the top-down, Chicago’s drill scene began from streets and will always stay confined to the ‘hood.

“It’s a different beginning [but] it’s not a difference though and how we grew up is going to be the same,” says Lil Durk. “People change when they get a whole lot of fame but I ain’t gonna change. I’m gonna stay connected with Chicago.”

Durk also says the Chi-Town’s newest movement is not only a representation of the streets but also real life:

“I try to go for real music when making a record, stuff I’ve been through that other people can relate to, my day to day life, I’ve got a baby, it’s stuff people can feel.”

Males aren’t the only ones taking advantage of the movement. Females like Sasha GoHard and Katie Got Bandz have also gotten into the action, and have received major hype for their part as well.

“Guys ain’t the only ones that’s doing it or could do it; we got it in us, too,” says Sasha GoHard. “With us doing it like the guys doing it, it just shows other people that females got what it takes to be a rapper, too.”

Hip-Hop music in general has taken a shift away from anything containing a “gangsta” element. Drill music may at least provide those thirsting for a more hardcore bent some relief.

With Chicago’s murder rate climbing to an all-time high, drillers are quick to say they are not a contributor to the violence but, instead, the reporters.

“We just took to the drill music just to really rap about it, not even to brag about the violence,” says Fatzmack. “We just brought it up to open people’s eyes to say this is what’s really going on out here.”

Regardless of how long drill music stays hot on the blogs or is felt by Hip-Hop fans across America, Windy City Hip-Hop has a new sound they can call their own.

“We’ve always said that Chicago has a lot of talent and it’s not being showcased because we don’t have the labels here,” Count explains.

“Whatever happened to get the light shining on Chicago, to have Kanye reach back and put people on or whatever, I appreciate that, ’cause these guys are trying to feed they families like everyone else around the country. And it was sad that, for years, Chicago music fell on deaf ears.”