In a first-of-its-kind court order, West London drill rap group 1011 has been banned from making music without authorisation from the police.
The criminal behaviour order (CBO) was placed on 1011 after the group admitted to conspiracy to commit violent disorder on a rival gang, and it comes a month after UK police requested YouTube to remove more than 30 drill music videos from its platform.
The drill genre, rapidly growing in popularity in Britain after its cultural import from Chicago, is a sub-genre of road rap, where artists talk about the harsh realities of their often impoverished environments. Authorities claim it can promote violence and gang warfare. British police believe that the music 1011 makes – which has so far amassed over 10 million views on YouTube before some videos were removed – is used as a tool to incite violence between themselves and a rival gang.
The CBO states that 1011 members Micah Bedeau, Jordan Bedeau, Yonas Girma, Isaac Marshall and Rhys Herbert have to notify police 24 hours before they upload any music videos onto YouTube. Additionally, they must inform the police of the date and location of any of their live performances 48 hours prior.
The group is also banned from mentioning death or injury, and from mentioning named postcodes in a gang context under a three-year criminal behaviour order. This move is a legal first in the UK, and comes off the back of increased pressure from the police to impose restrictions on drill. These restrictions include 30 drill music videos being taken down from YouTube, following a claim from the police that these videos are used as a vehicle to incite violence between rival gangs.
We are in the business of stopping people being killed
Detective chief superintendent Kevin Southworth, who leads the Met’s trident gang crime command said that there were a number of different drill videos and social media postings that were clearly and only designed to incite violence and provoke each other.
“We’re not in the business of killing anyone’s fun, we’re not in the business of killing anyone’s artistic expression – we are in the business of stopping people being killed,” he said.
However, Index on Censorship chief executive, Jodie Ginsberg, criticized the decision, arguing that banning a kind of music is not the way to handle ideas that are distasteful or disturbing. “This isn’t going to address the issues that lead to the creation of this kind of music,” she said. “Nor should we be creating a precedent in which certain forms of art which include violent images or ideas are banned”.
Also defending the genre, criminologist Dr Anthony Gunter told the BBC: “If you see violence and pain and suffering all around you, because you live in a deprived neighbourhood, you’re going to make music that’s intense, violent and painful. If we want them to make beautiful music – nice, kind music – we’ve got to invest in these urban communities”.
Image: YouTube/Ben Sullivan