Monday 25 June 2018

‘They’re just making them more famous’ – Irish drill artist on YouTube deleting videos flagged by UK police as inciting violence

Ciaran INKredible in a still from Scopes & Beams
Ciaran INKredible in a still from Scopes & Beams
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

An Irish drill artist claims that removing UK drill artists’ videos from YouTube is only serving to make them more famous.

The platform has taken the decision to delete just over half of the music videos flagged by police as inciting violence.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has blamed social media for fuelling a surge in murders in London, singling out the drill genre of rap music for glamourising violent crime.

Drill originated in Chicago but has been adopted by British artists and has drawn criticism for depicting hooded and masked gangs threatening each other with violent lyrics, and gestures.

Dublin rapper Ciaran INKredible (aka INK or Young Trap Prince), who shields his identity behind his drill persona, writes, produces and directs his own drill videos, set and filmed in the capital. 

The 32 year-old says that the move by YouTube to effectively ban certain videos only serves to promote the artists.

“They’re just making them more famous.  Anything that’s banned people just want to watch it more,” he tells Independent.ie

“Also, I don’t understand what they mean by ‘banned’.  The video is taken down from YouTube but it’s uploaded two seconds later on another channel.  So the term ‘banned’ is just saying it’s banned, but it’s not in reality.”

He adds, “People are going to listen to music.  Eminem was banned and that’s when he made it.  Every one of them made it when they got banned.”

Ciaran’s videos feature him and others posing as gangsters and criminals in masks and hoods, driving cars, and brandishing guns and knives. 

The videos are available to view on YouTube, and have racked up thousands of views (It's An Eye for an Eye has 151,000 views with others hitting 100,000 and under).

They come with a disclaimer stating that “the views and opinions expressed in these videos are for entertainment & educational purposes only and do not represent the views of any artist(s) or Wolfpack Records”.

“They can’t take it down.  We’re completely covered – it’s all just for art,” he says.

He concedes that drill videos do “kind of promote violence in a small way.  It adds to it, you know?” but he does not feel a responsibility towards children and young teenagers who might interpret the behaviour depicted in his videos as something to emulate.

“It all comes back to the genre of music – it’s over 18s music.  Anybody who’s not over 18 shouldn’t be watching it.  It’s just the way it is.  It’s always happened,” he says.

While Ciaran assumes the role of a gangster and criminal in his videos, wearing masks and brandishing guns and knives, he says he's simply depicting life for some quarters of society in Dublin right now.

"These incidents are happening,” he says.  “People think that Dublin is this rainbow pot of gold place and it’s not.  It’s the same as England."

He explains, “Basically, what I’m trying to do is to portray, and let people know, what’s going on in Dublin.  We have our stories in Dublin.  They’re all real things happening here at the moment, things that are reported in the paper. 

“We’re hearing these stories and all we’re doing is relating them back through music.  We interpret them.  England has their stories and we’ve got ours.”

The videos removed by YouTube in the UK have been deemed as inciting violence and some feature real-life rival gangs threatening each other.

“The gangs try to outrival each other with the filming and content – what looks like a music video can actually contain explicit language with gangs threatening each other,” Detective Superintendent Mike West told Press Association.

“There are gestures of violence, with hand signals suggesting they are firing weapons and graphic descriptions of what they would do to each other.”

Commissioner Dick also told LBC radio, “Often, and we’ve seen this in London, we have gangs who make drill videos, and in those videos they taunt each other and say what they are going to do to each other, and specifically what they are going to do to who.”

Ciaran, however, says he is purely about making art and is not affiliated to any Dublin gang, “I’m just a music artist is all I am.”

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