Krept & Konan urge police to stop targeting drill artists with new petition

"This is a threat to freedom of speech. Nobody in a free society should be imprisoned for words."

17.06.19

Words by: Billy Ward

London-based rappers Krept & Konan have started a petition calling on UK police forces to stop criminalising young black artists.

The petition comes off the back of drill artists Skengdo x AM receiving a nine-month suspended sentence for performing their controversial song ‘Attemped 1.0’ at a show earlier in the year, stating it was “the first time in British legal history that a prison sentence has been issued for performing a song,” with many believing this is the start of a wider objective to clamp down on free speech for rappers.

The appeal, titled ‘Stop silencing musicians‘, criticises the police for “using laws made for terrorists and sex offenders to criminalise musicians who sing violent lyrics” and raises the issue of a drill ban depriving “already disenfranchised young people of a voice”.

“This is a threat to freedom of speech. Nobody in a free society should be imprisoned for words,” the petition reads.

Alongside the petition, the two rappers released a short film titled ‘Ban Drill’ to their YouTube channel. The video, directed by Rapman – known for creating the viral sensation ‘Shiro’s Story’ – uses a refreshing combination of song and speech, to paint a vivid picture of life on an impoverished estate.

The story highlights the importance of music on young people in the community – offering a means of escape – and plays out two scenarios in which an artist is subjugated to a drill ban, forcing him to revert to old ways, or, his music is allowed to flourish, along with the artist himself.

Krept and Konan are bringing attention to a “long history of suffering in black music” and remind people that “before the police spotlight was turned on Drill, it was on road rap, grime, and garage”.

Sign the petition here.

Watch the duo’s short film below:

Behind Bars: After years of the UK banning music, attempts to censor drill break alarming new ground