New York Mayor Eric Adams declares war on Drill Rap

There’s a vibrant and exciting music scene in New York — and newly elected Mayor Eric Adams isn’t happy about it.

In remarks to members of the press on Friday, Adams expressed concern about drill rap, the musical subgenre that has flourished in his native Brooklyn neighborhood over the past half-decade. He called the music “alarming,” linking it to gun violence, and seemed to blame social media companies more.

“We removed Trump from Twitter,” Adams said. “Yet we allow music, the display of guns, violence. We allow it to remain on these sites.

Adams acknowledged that his concern about drill rap is relatively recent. “I had no idea what drill rap was, but I called my son and he sent me some videos, and it’s alarming,” he said. “We’re going to bring social media companies together and sit down with them and tell them you have a civic and corporate responsibility.”

Adams’ remarks are in line with anti-rap messages from police and prosecutors across America in recent years, a trend that has been decried by artists, legal scholars and free speech advocates. But the mayor’s distaste for the drill goes beyond what his own police force is saying.

Just ask NYPD Deputy Chief Joseph Gulotta, who recently told the New York Daily News that it’s a mistake to blame the music for several recent shootings involving Brooklyn rappers: “Those are gang shootings. I think sometimes the rap and the lyrics get on fire, cause problems. But I don’t think that’s the underlying motive in the end.

Since its beginnings on Chicago’s South Side in the early 2010s, drill music has often been criticized by censorious listeners who view its dark sounds and menacing lyrics as dangerous. In the UK, some exercise bands have been forced to seek police permission before recording music.

Here in the United States, the First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits government officials from restricting artistic expression, a clause that has been widely understood to protect depictions of violence in books, films, paintings and songs. Even the ones that look scary on YouTube.

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