- Spotify last week announced that number of paying subscribers risen by 24%
- Sound Of UK Drill playlist created using an algorithm that monitors the tracks
- Met Police Commissioner said that drill songs glorify ‘stabbings in great detail’
Spotify has been accused of glamorising violence by featuring a string of criminals in its official drill music ‘chart’.
At least ten of the top 30 tracks on the music-streaming giant’s Sound Of UK Drill playlist last week involved thugs with convictions for offences including murder, rape and torture.
Jayden O’Neill-Crichlow, who performs under the name ‘SJ’, is part of a group at No 1 with a track called ‘OFB [Original Farm Boys] HB Freestyle’.
O’Neill-Crichlow was a member of a gang armed with knives and a sword who chased Kamali Gabbidon-Lynck, a 19-year-old father-of-one, through the streets ‘like a pack of animals’ before hacking him to death. The 18-year-old is serving 21 years for murder, having astonishingly been offered a £150,000 record deal while on remand for his crime.
Isaac Donkoh, whose song Drill And Repent was at No 24, is serving 12½ years for the kidnap and torture of a 16-year-old.
Police believe the 24-year-old, who performs under the name ‘Young Dizz’, groomed other teens to torture and attack gang rivals in Beckton, East London.
One place below Drill And Repent, which has been downloaded 675,000 times, was Mad About Bars, a track by Latimar ‘Latts’ Richardson, 19, who is currently serving four years for the rape of an underage girl.
Spotify last week announced that the number of paying subscribers had risen by 24 per cent last year to 155 million, but the streaming service has been accused of cynically cashing in on gang violence.
Last night, Jen Lock, a campaigner with the group Lives Instead Of Knives, described the inclusion of violent criminals on the playlist as ‘totally irresponsible’, adding: ‘Our young people see these rapists and murderers at the top of a chart list and idolise them. They think, “If they can do that and get success, then why not me as well?” Companies like Spotify are profiting from gang warfare.’
Tory MP Tim Loughton, a member of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, said: ‘It is incredible when social-media platforms are quite rightly coming under intense criticism for hosting violent, extremist and hate-filled material that a leading music-streamer is promoting and profiting from rap music which is flagrantly glorifying violence.’
The Sound Of UK Drill playlist, which is created using an algorithm that monitors the popularity of tracks, also included a song called The Things, by Lekan Akinsoji, known as ‘CB’. He was handed a 23-year jail term in 2019 for violent crimes, including pointing a shotgun at police.
The Sound Of UK Drill playlist, which is created using an algorithm that monitors the popularity of tracks, also included a song called The Things, by Lekan Akinsoji, known as ‘CB’
Guess Whos Back, listed at No 27, is by the 10 Eleven gang, seven of whose members were jailed for a total of 17 years in 2018 for possession of machetes.
The group, then using the name 1011, were the subject of Britain’s first music ‘banning order’ intended to stop them recording tracks referring to rivals or specific attacks. The ‘new’ band appear to have breached that in the ironically named Guess Whos Back by rapping about ‘12 boys’, an apparent reference to their rival 12 World gang.
Other drill musicians who were in last week’s Spotify top 30 include Dylan Creffield-Foster, who was involved in a County Lines drug-dealing gang, and Samba Faal, who has a conviction for affray.
Police say drill music is fuelling gang-related crime. Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said drill songs glorify ‘stabbings in great detail, joy and excitement’.
Sweden-based Spotify, which last year reported revenues of £5.8 billion, failed to respond despite repeated requests for comment.