Press Play is one of the go-to spots for hearing the best up and coming UK drill. The platform clocks in around two million views weekly, pushing many of the scene's biggest tunes to a wider audience: heavyweights like Headie One, 67, and Skengdo & AM have all popped up consistently on the channel, and they also launched Russ' massive UK top ten single "Gun Lean".
Earlier this month, it dropped the first ever drill compilation tape, titled The First Drill. It features some of the hottest artists in the game – V9, Kwengface and Skengdo & AM, to name just a few.
To coincide with the tape's release, we asked as many artists from the record as possible to tell us their favourite drill tune. Press Play's head honcho Danny also jumped on the ones and twos, to add some extra thought to their choices, plus a bonus round with some of his faves. "With all the songs chosen, they’ve all played a massive part for the culture," he says. "Not just influence-wise, because some of the songs I think some people might not have heard before, but they’ve all played their part in making the drill scene what it is today."
Read, watch and listen to the picks below.
RV PICKS: "KNOW BETTER" BY RV AND HEADIE ONE
RV: It's authentic drill at its finest. If you know the story behind that tune then you’ll understand. The mandem (OFB) make authentic drill that’s for the culture and for real drill fans. It's for everyone to enjoy, but it’s not for everyone to understand. Those that know… they know.
Danny: With "Know Better", that was a song that went global. That song there was very important for the drill scene. Americans were remixing it, you saw Pop Smoke remix it, there was so many remixes of that. And if you know the story behind that song then you’ll get it even more, it’s more one for the drill culture. Not many people that probably saw that video or heard that song would understand its meaning but for the drill culture, it was big – especially because it got taken worldwide, hit the radio, and it also made Headie One and RV’s career, and made them become who they are today.
KARMA PICKS: "RIDING" BY PS X KARMA
Karma: If you know you know – [it's] one of our biggest and realest tunes to date.
Danny: I think that was a big song for [PS and Karma], it’s got over a million views and this was literally just two young boys – I think they were about 15 at the time – from Peckham that were making a lot of noise. It was just a song that was done easily on the estate where they’re from, no budget behind it, and it did so well. It went up.
(410) SKENGDO PICKS: "FANETO" BY CHIEF KEEF
Skengdo: There are way too many to choose from, but this was really the foundation and where it all started for me.
(410) AM PICKS: "KILL SHIT" BY LIL HERB AND LIL BIBBY
AM: Way too many, but I’d have to give it to Lil Herb x Lil Bibby.
Danny: As you can see, [Lil Herb and Lil Bibby] are American. [America] is definitely where drill started in a way, and obviously the UK have taken it and have made it their own scene. The UK drill scene has kind of made its own sound which is completely different to the American scene. But where a lot of drill rappers grew up listening to certain other overseas rappers, I think that it played a big influence in their music now.
JAX PICKS: "ZULU MAN" BY BIG GLOCKZ AND JAX
Jax: I got to give it to "Zulu Man" still, gotta toot my own horn. Obviously that's my favourite song, me and Glockz both went in. The song kind of correlated perfectly and we both showed our own different styles. But if we’re not talking about my own then I’ve got to say "Y Pree" by M1llionz, because that song is perfectly laid out. That is a perfect lay out of a drill song.
Danny: In that sense, I think for me that [Zulu Man] was the first time I really saw UK drill artists using their background, their heritage, their country and where they’re originally from. They’re from Luton, but their songs called "Zulu Man" and they’re running with the whole Zulu vibe. That's the thing with drill – everyone's bringing a piece of "them" to it. So some people might perceive drill as just one type of genre, but there’s so much more to it. That’s what's important in some of the biggest drill songs – everyone brings a touch of themselves, whether it’s their background, upbringing, what they like to do etc. They bring that little piece of them into their music which can completely change the whole game.
V9 PICKS: "CHARGED UP" BY V9
V9: The best drill song of all time HAS to be "Charged Up"! Don’t ask why, just listen and you’ll see.
Danny: Why that song is important to the culture, and what made it special, is that V9 came so different. Usually people just come with a standard black mask but V9 came with a red Deadpool mask, and I think that's what initially attracted people towards his brand of music. Visually he was different, and I also think with "Charged Up" it speaks for itself. It’s so up-tempo and energetic, everything plays a part in that song to perfectly bring it together. I think even the song name compliments itself as well. I mean [the video] is now at over three and a half million views, so I think "Charged Up" is definitely important.
KWENGFACE PICKS: "YOUNGEST IN CHARGE" BY SJ (OFB)
Kwengface: "Youngest In Charge" for sure, just the bars, beat and flow are crazy. It’s the perfect drill tune.
Danny: That’s another big song with a new drill artist that came into the scene with a completely new flow. With that song, I think we [the drill scene] showed the world that we can get tens of millions of views without being reliant on some high budget and big production and big pushes, and that we can do it just as well independently. And with SJ, and "Youngest In Charge", there's always new rappers, but what makes you stand out is how you present yourself, how your flow is and your lyrics all in one. With SJ’s "Youngest In Charge", that's one of my favourite songs. It’s just got everything. The beat on it and the way SJ flows on it is crazy.
I think with drill in general, it’s the beat/instrumental that really connects the people as well, gets them excited, gets them bubbly, gets them jumping, and if you flow right with the right lyrics it can become a hit.
DANNY FROM PRESS PLAY PICKS: "NO CENSOR" BY ZONE 2
Danny: This is famously one of the most savage drill songs of all time. They just came raw with it. They didn’t care what anyone had to say, they didn’t care, they just wanted to come completely raw with it.
DANNY FROM PRESS PLAY PICKS: "KNOW BETTER" BY RV AND HEADIE ONE
Danny: It played a big part to show people that drill can be commercialised and it can go on radio – that it can get tens of millions of views.
DANNY FROM PRESS PLAY PICKS: "NO DIET" BY DIGGA D
Danny: It was on billboards, it was seen everywhere, it was advertised. And that's all coming from an artist who is banned from saying certain things and making certain types of music. Like his license conditions in regards to the music is very powerful, it really restricts him, and he can still make bangers and big songs that are getting millions of views. So where I feel certain artists are getting blocked out and stopped from doing what they want, they’re still finding ways to make the music pop off and go massive, which is very impressive.