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George the Poet: Drill music is release, form of resilience

RELEASE: George the Poet has said that the much-maligned drill music genre is about mental resilience

GEORGE THE Poet has said that drill music is a form of “release”.

In his interview with The Guardian, the spoken-word artist, whose real name is George Mpanga, spoke about the police’s crackdown on drill music, the rap genre that is partly categorised by its graphic violent lyrics.

“It occupies them and it’s actually a creative endeavour. It’s an action, it’s a commitment, it’s something that you’re doing, so if you’re doing drill, imagine all the things that person is not doing,” he said.

He went on to argue that at the centre of the genre was the desire to create a mental framework of resilience against post-traumatic stress triggered by gang violence.

He is one of a number of black UK artists to disagree with the emphasis placed on drill music and other underground genres as a driving force behind the violence across the capital.

In May this year, complying with a request from the Metropolitan Police, YouTube removed approximately 30 music videos from its platform.

Mpanga also commented on the police strip-search that he was subjected to in June, referring to it as an incident of racial stereotyping.

The 27-year-old has said that he was targeted because officers stereotype young black men and lack positive interactions with them, The Guardian has reported.

Mpanga told the paper: “It’s a challenge for the police. They’re sitting in briefings and they’re going through the information about what they’re about to go out there into and they’re going to say look out for this person, you know, he’s got a warrant out, look out for that person, they’re dangerous, and you’re seeing black face after black face after black face but you don’t have any black people in your life.

“It’s a vicious cycle and because you don’t listen to my music or listen to people like me you don’t have an awareness that, you know, I’m actually making a social contribution. There’s nothing in your imagination that sees anything positive in me, otherwise you’d be a bit more respectful to my parents at least.”

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