Our first question is: Who is Drillminister?
Drillminister, a rapper who creates drill music with a political edge, is unlike any electoral candidate that we’ve ever seen running for Mayor of London. I believe that’s a good thing.
Conspicuously dressed in casual clothing and a mask that has become his trademark, he has rebuffed the idea that concealing his face invites distrust. Society, Drillminister explained to the BBC, has been ‘’. He does have a point, and having listened to what else he’s had to say on a number of issues, including racial profiling, this rapper more than meets the eye. Given that he’s set himself apart, not only with the way he dresses, but the way he articulates his opinions and carries himself in the face of negative stereotypes, one should hardly be surprised that such a creative figure is running as an independent candidate.
His realistic and pragmatic approach to social issues
Drillminister has had little to no experience in the political sphere. However, he must still be considered a legitimate candidate for the mayoral elections. Despite the blame he places on various policies and the education system that only elevates those with an affluent background, the rapper never attacks anyone. Rather, whatever social issue he’s asked to provide his opinion on, he approaches it with a realistic and pragmatic attitude. When asked about the prejudice black people receive concerning knife crime, he calmly explains how the media, often led by white editors from well-educated backgrounds, largely contributes to this arbitrary racial profiling. ‘‘, he told Aaron from Shout Out UK, ‘so you’re going to look on the next person and put blame’.
Regarding the disparity between the rich and the poor and the lack of political literacy, for example, he holds the education system accountable. ‘’ for failing to meet certain policies, or making false promises that they typically make in order to gain as many votes as possible.
Rather than criticising the politicians that are in power, which regularly happens during parliamentary sessions, Drillminister simply draws on how certain negative social issues have come to light, and provides a practical explanation on how we can start solving them.
Tackling youth violence and knife crime
South London, often considered to be a ‘rough’ area, is where Drillminister has been all his life. Because of his upbringing, he has a unique viewpoint and brings a less sheltered experience of life in London compared to the other candidates. With certain areas in the city being rampant with youth crime and postcode wars, the rapper has most likely seen and experienced it all, , and so arguably has a good idea of how this recurring issue should be approached. For one thing, Drillminister has said that he wants to diversify the Metropolitan Police Service, believing that this is one key step to curbing crime. For an overview, . Asians, Blacks, mixed, or those belonging to another ethnicity make up a meagre 6.9 per cent. ‘ ,’ he explains. Considering the frightening problem of American police brutality, Drillminister’s approach to reducing youth violence makes sense.
Through his dynamic music the rapper has been able to make an impact on youth violence. With the younger generation, Drillminister says they listen to artists like him because they not only talk about the truth or ‘‘.
He wants to represent the underrepresented
Drillminister is intent on fighting against ‘’. He discusses how the black community is an often persecuted minority in the country and how people from his class are often overlooked. Considering that the former elected mayors since the beginning of the new millennium have all been white (Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson, the exception being the incumbent Sadiq Khan), his running for mayor is an important statement. Simply put, it’s about representation.
When asked about Rory Stewart, another independent candidate, who recently came under fire for , Drillminister replied: ‘He’s here for himself. Rory Stewart doesn’t represent anyone from my background’. London, he believes, needs a new mayor that can be seen as representing the whole city and not just a certain community or class within it. During the interview with Shout Out UK, he has said, ’there’s a bias towards accent. That’s not English … We need to get over these biases’. London certainly can make a start if it elects Drillminister as its mayor.
This is a candidate who understands the need for a politically literate public as something that will make a lasting change in society:
’Because the hood don’t understand politics, which is what my job is trying to do … man don’t even understand their own rights. And if you don’t understand your own rights, you’re a person without purpose.’
Drillminister is certainly not the only artist in the country who has sought to bring political awareness among the younger generation. Stormzy, another South London rapper, has also sought to make a political change in the country, referencing more political issues in his music. But unlike Stormzy, Drillminister is hoping to take on a political role in the professional sense.
Whether he becomes mayor or not, his running is important in showing that a person does not have to dress or speak a certain way, or belong to the higher echelons of society, or indeed conform to any set characteristics, in order to represent London.