Teenager proves first fatal victim in Antwerp drill rap scene

Antwerp has faced nearly 50 incidents related to the drill rap environment so far. According to the spokesman for the Antwerp public prosecutor's office, these incidents revolve around threats, robberies, possession of weapons and theft. Stabbings and fights remain exceptional. Nevertheless, the 16-year-old S.B. from Berchem is the first fatal victim. He was stabbed yesterday morning, Wednesday, and did not survive the wounds.

Many drill rappers turn out to be minors, details the public prosecutor's office, but Belgian national figures are still difficult to be provided, since the incidents are not classified separately. "The young people often commit an offense together, because the group dynamic is very close. If the perpetrators are identified, they regularly appear to be in the file of drill rappers," Antwerp public prosecutor's office highlights.


Drillrap originated ten years ago in poor neighborhoods of Chicago and spread to Belgium via London and Amsterdam. The lyrics of drill rap tend to be gritty, violent and nihilistic and often threaten and challenge other drill rappers.

Lucy Stehlik, from the British newspaper "The Guardian", explains that these drill lyrics strongly contrast with earlier Chicago rappers and contemporary mainstream hip hop, which tended to glorify and celebrate a rise to wealth.

Three people have already died within the environment in Amsterdam. "If you follow the phenomenon internationally, the murder in Berchem is not surprising," youth criminologist Mattias De Backer (VUB) told the Belgian newspaper De Standaard. "It reminds me of the gangster rap of the 1990s. There, too, the music genre was strongly intertwined with a subculture of guns and violence," he said.

The drill rap groups seem to compete and threaten each other with death in their rhymes. "They work with a points system", said Yves Kabwe, social worker at football club City Pirates in Antwerp, to the Standaard. "You get points when you stab someone. The system leads to enormous peer pressure. The youngsters can drive each other very far. You can really talk about gang formation – in this case a youth gang – because there is an internal organization," he added.

De Backer ponders that crime does not arise within the drill rap environment, but that it attracts young people who have already come into contact with the public prosecutor's office or the police.



#FlandersNewsService | ​ ​ ©BELGA PHOTO (DIRK WAEM)


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