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B Side, Music

Drill Music Booms in Nigeria and Ghana, Spotify Reports

With rap in Nigeria and Ghana veering to the mainstream, drill is gaining ground, poised to take hip-hop in West Africa to new heights of musical potency.

  • Melony Akpoghene
  • 9th July 2024

Streaming giant Spotify has turned its spotlight on a growing phenomenon in West Africa: Drill music. Drill in Nigeria and Ghana has become a cultural movement, offering a platform for a new generation of artists to voice their realities.


Drill music’s roots lie in Chicago’s South Side in the early 2010s. It emerged as a reflection of gang violence and poverty plaguing these communities. The genre’s signature sound — heavy basslines, menacing beats, and rappers spitting bars about street life — quickly spread across the Atlantic, finding fertile ground in the cities of Nigeria and Ghana. 


In Nigeria, Drill morphed into +234Drill by artists like OdumoduBlvck, Jeriq, Psycho YP, Reeplay, Droxx, Aguero Banks, Alpha Ojini.


Here, the genre retained its core elements but took on a distinctly Nigerian flavor. +234Drill rappers wield wordplay and metaphors, painting vivid pictures of urban life, societal issues, and the relentless hustle that defines the young Nigerian spirit.  The numbers tell the story. Spotify’s curated playlist “Naija Drill” has amassed over 400,000 streams in just a year, highlighting the genre’s hold on young listeners, with Gen Z making up 95% of the playlist’s audience.

234 drill features a magnetism that intensifies the listening experience of individual listeners, piquing their interests and exposing them to the nitty-gritty of the sound. It is not just a sound, it is a culture with its own fashion sense, language, and dance styles. It is an avenue where middle/lower class concerns which are mostly perforated  by crime, poverty, and deprivation can be transported to a wide audience via expertful artistic vehicles. 


Ghana’s Drill scene, known as “Asakaa,” offers another interesting iteration of the genre with talents like Black Sherif, O’Kenneth, Jay Bahd, Kwaku DMC, and Reggie blending drill’s core elements with the of Ghanaian highlife and the swagger of American rap. 


The use of Twi, a widely spoken Ghanaian language, further validates Asakaa’s unique identity. This genre, characterized by its lively guitar lines and syncopated drumming patterns, lends Asakaa a distinct rhythmic foundation delivered in a language that feels authentically theirs.


With rap in Nigeria and Ghana veering to the mainstream, drill is gaining ground, poised to take hip-hop in West Africa to new heights of musical potency. Nigeria’s major cities, Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Onitsha, and Enugu are leading the charge. Similarly, Asakaa flourishes in Ghana’s cultural centers, including Accra, Kumasi, Tema, Koforidua, and Cape Coast. Also, streaming data reveals that the genre has found enthusiastic audiences in countries such as the United States, Great Britain, Denmark, Canada, and Italy.


Listen to Naija Drill:


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