A short annotated selection of music tracks to accompany the Prosecuting Rap project. Compiled by Franklyn Addo.

Russ x Tion Wayne – ‘Body’

Learn about Russ x Tion Wayne – ‘Body’

‘Body’ is the first Drill song to top the UK singles charts. The record also topped the charts in Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand, while reaching top ten status in Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. Light-hearted in sentiment compared to what is usually expected from Drill, the song and its video which features dance choreography illustrate the genre’s rapidly evolving aesthetic and increasing commercial and international appeal

Ivorian Doll – ‘Daily Duppy’

Learn about Ivorian Doll - 'Daily Duppy'

Published by the indispensable Black British entertainment platform, GRM Daily, ‘Daily Duppy’ is a longstanding web-series which sees UK artists deliver hotly anticipated freestyles. In this episode, East London MC Ivorian Doll delivers a dynamic performance over a skippy Drill instrumental. Her appearance is a welcome if momentary disruption of the relentlessly hyper-masculine content one might otherwise expect of UK rap. With an engaging flow and an exhilarating exhibition of character, IVD flexes her lyrical prowess as well as her spectacular hair and nails in clever rhyming couplets, in-keeping with rap’s usual braggadocio and inclination to take pride in aesthetics.

Knucks – ‘Home’

Learn about Knucks - 'Home'

Contrary to the one-dimensional caricaturing of Drill music as mindless or exclusively violent, it has in fact been used to explore and advocate around social issues. Driven by a sombre piano complemented by a swirling saxophone, Knucks’ ‘Home’ is an example of impactful, nuanced storytelling soundtracked by Drill, as well as of the sophisticated lyricism/musicality that abounds within the genre

Headie One – ‘Home’

Learn about Headie One - 'Home'

Headie One is one of the forerunners of UK Drill music, seeing significant commercial success for his fusion of influences such as Afrobeats with contemporary British sounds. ‘Home’ interpolates ‘Soon As I Get Home’ by stateside R&B singer Faith Evans, illustrating the widening palette that the genre is taking inspiration from as it develops.

Kano – ‘Signs in Life’

Learn about Kano - 'Signs in Life'

This is a powerful example of the Grime music that preceded UK Drill as one of Britain’s most popular cultural exports during the early 2000s. In addition to the capacity of music to provoke thought and engage young minds, songs like this show how innovations in Black British music are inevitably informed by migration and diaspora: its hook, for instance, is borrowed from the Jamaican reggae artist Sanchez’s 1995 song ‘Never Dis Di Man’.

Swiss – ‘Cry’

Learn about Swiss – 'Cry'

Released in 2005, Swiss’ 2005 ‘Cry’ is revered as a classic record from the sphere of UK Rap. Swiss was one of the members of the widely loved of So Solid Crew, whose innovations in the genre of UK Garage made them one of the hottest groups to emerge in the nation, complete with appearances on Top of the Pops. This song is perhaps one of the post potent examples of social commentary through rap, addressing everything from youth violence and disproportionate policing to the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

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Explore how rap music is used in the criminal justice system and the scope of this website

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Deeper than rap

Look into the politics and creativity of rap music in response to - and well beyond - the justice system