uk females on the rise
It’s International Women’s History Month and just as we did for Black History Month last year, the Finesse Foreva blog couldn’t let March come and go without shedding a light on the contributions women have made to drill and the UK rap scene as a whole.
This is because in the last year, we've seen what might be one of the most exciting developments in drill - the rise of the girls in drill.
One of the most interesting things about drill is that it gives you a raw perspective of inner city life, for better or for worse. We’ve seen some of the most exciting, coolest, violent or flat out worrying bars – whether it’s Zone 2 name dropping opps or the likes of Blanco making the deepest Naruto references.
With the UK’s history of female talent going back from Lisa Maffia, Ms. Dynamite (and Mela Twins might have set pace on this anyway – where are they now?) it was only a matter of time before a female take on drill emerged.
So today, while you’re self-isolating and ducking the coronavirus, we’re bringing you in on a look at some of the most promising talents from the girls in drill.
Teezandos might be the first name on everyone’s lips right now when you think of a female drill rapper. and it's clear why - she's got all the fundamentals you expect to hear in drill covered, and performs it just as well as anyone that has come before. The young upstart in her own right is constantly surprising people with the talent she has that seemed to come out of nowhere. it's crazy to think that a random viral Instagram freestyle put her firmly on the map with her energetic, purposeful delivery and shocking bars leaving artists and fans in shock.
Since then she hasn’t taken her foot off the pedal. Her Instagram freestyle evolved into a solid tune called ‘Need Focus’, which sets the groundwork and forms a perfect introduction to her and her already well-developed style – her impressive flow, her confrontational energy and lyrics, and her devilish attitude. And since then she’s only gone on to improve. After all, drill rappers will call themselves devilish is overdone at this point, but how many of them are making Bible references in their bars or remixing the Lord’s Prayer into a verse about the plug?
Her latest tune, Highlander has already been covered by the blog and it shows us that Teezandos is definitely one to watch out for this year. If she keeps it up, an EP or a tape could be a solid release.
Lavida Loca is a raw, South London based up and comer who started making waves last year. And from the jump she’s set herself apart from the wave of the girls in drill, with a different flow, Latin influences and by making it clear she’s a rapper first and foremost.
You might worry about her being a jack of all trades, but if rappers like Youngs Tef, J Hus or Headie One have taught us anything, it’s that versatility can never be a weakness in drill.
Coming up on the old school wave of female rappers like Roxxan and Lady Leeshur, she dabbles in and out of drill and rap with ease.
She makes this point clear by starting off her output with the solid freestyle in ‘The King’s Back’. Rapping over PTSD by Pop Smoke, (the clear 50 Cent influenced tune off his first project). She does the original justice, with some impressive lyrics and flows going into raw details about the trap life she used to live.
She’s an impressive rapper for sure, and she’s really capturing the spirit of UK rap so far. And her career looks like it’s on an upward motion so far – she’s done her obligatory Voice of The Streets freestyle, and she’s linked up with all the right people.
A collab with UK rap talent CS is under the bag, and there are rumblings of link-ups with the classic factory that is Fraser T. Smith.
If she can fine-tune her talents this year her debut may be one that separates her even further from the rest.
Shaybo is my personal favourite out of the list. Teezandos may be the young prodigy, and Lavida more of a lyricist, but South East’s Shaybo has all of this and more – pure personality. Her songs and freestyles are exciting cause her attitude and energy are just too infectious.
Whether she’s telling her aunties ‘oya take back your fiver’ when being asked to buy Lyca, or letting you know she’ll go jail for any disrespect on her latest tune ‘Anger’, Shaybo brings her own wavy energy and excitement to drill that’s really a breath of fresh air.
Shaybo’s also the oldest out of the group, and she's not new to the limelight at all. This is her second opportunity and she’s reinvented herself from the raw talent she was. With her fresh take on drill and bold, authentic Naija influences, her upcoming ‘Queen of The South’ Ep is definitely one to watch out for.
Ivorian Doll, aka Vanessa, aka ‘The Queen of Drill’, is probably the name all drill fans will know. She's a rapper, a model, a YouTuber, and a personality in her own right, and anyone who knows her will know that Ivorian is no stranger to controversy.
Whether it’s the total, unmatched commitment to transparency on her Youtube channel, her impressive freestyles and features such as the Mami Remix, or the social media storm that can only be summed up as ‘The Situation’, Ivorian Doll knows how to move a conversation.
Alongside all the drama with Ivorian though, there is talent, and she’s shown that she can match the unexpected rise to fame comes with dedication and graft. With her cheeky attitude and promiscuous, sexually charged lyrics, she’s proven that she is definitely one to watch.
So, where from here?
This isn’t an article to group all the girls together or pit them against each other, but each of these artists has a distinct voice and their own style that adds something to drill. You should definitely keep up with their output, and in a world where Cardi B is one of the most commercially successful rappers in the world, it would be great to see which of these promising rappers can help break the glass ceiling in drill and UK rap overall.
We've seen a lot of projects come and go in drill, which is great for such a young genre. However, in the next 18 months a female drill artist may just break through to the levels of success your favourite driller has - and it may just be one of these four.