A Conversation With 67’s LD: The Godfather Of Drill
3 Mar 2021
I checked in with the U.K. Drill heavyweight on the cusp of his release. LD’s latest mixtape, ‘Who’s Watching’, invites us into his introspective and narrative playing field which made our conversation that much more interesting.
For the Brixton Hill native, there are distinct signs of personal development and growth. Where I had simply asked how he had been, the masked rapper revealed his newfound tunnel vision instead. He put it like this:
“Obviously it’s a bit shitty because of where I am but I’m feeling healthy. My life, my mental health is good – I’m good. I’m focused on looking after my family. I just wanted to release this project and I’ve appreciated this jail time. I know myself better and know what I want to do, properly.”
LD and wider rap collective, 67, were popularised on YouTube as far back as 2014. The conversation surrounding the beginning of U.K. Drill is often clouded by debates on who earns the pioneer status. More than anything, I sought to unravel the story of how LD, Dimzy, Monkey and 67’s other frontmen pushed the sound that started what is now almost the Hollywood scene of British music. Beaming in nostalgia, he told me,
“I’ve always been influenced by Grime. I listened to old-school Joe Black and Giggs. At the same time, everyone around me loved American rap. Me and bredrin’ (Dimzy), started rapping faster on trap beats when we started hearing Chief Keef. I ended up in jail and it’s so crazy ‘cause that’s how I made “Live Corn” – I got caught in the block and started spitting to myself until I had the whole song. Once I was out, I just made it and it blew up after Krept tweeted it.”
It’s no secret 67 hit the ground running with consecutive street bangers and budding listeners far away from their familiar South London territory. I had to know what a time like that was like for the iconic rap act.
“It was living in the time – we were really outside. Most of the tracks we made was about getting into madness and coming out victorious. I’ve never needed to write bars down, because it’s straight from my head. Naturally, I’m a quiet guy so music was the only way I expressed myself.”
Despite being at his creative peak, I recollected a time where LD grew disengaged and even disappointed at the direction U.K. Drill was going in. I cited interviews and online moments where he dubbed the genre as ‘confused’ before he cut in to explain,
“We were loving it but we didn’t realise what was happening for us or looking at ourselves as artists. I always knew Drill would pop – I never knew how big. I came out when the police were doubling down extra hard and it wasn’t safe to say much in lyrics. Now, I’m just extra happy. Guys like Headie, Digga… even down to Russ are charting and making proper money. I’ve put on 4Music and seen Central Cee – that’s good.”
Contrary to popular belief, LD is not a bitter OG.
Nodding along to his assertive explanation and self-awareness, I heard what I believed to be an eagerness to take his career by the reins and do it properly. Still, the Lambeth native faces a reality that is incareceration at the hands of authorities that, he claims, do not support his efforts or betterment as a person. Otherwise calm and collected, LD expressed his frustration:
“Before the music, we were outside doing a lot and running into the police. As music progressed, they didn’t let me get where I wanted to go. We lost deals with Relentless and other labels after the police spoke to them. Our tours got locked off – it was mad. I can’t have a clean run without them stopping something. Some officers are bitter, but I can’t think about them. They’re just doing their job.”
I assured the emcee that what was most important is the music he has provided and the significance attached to it. Speaking on the project the public had not yet heard at the time, he described it like this:
“It’s about where I’m coming from and where I’m going to. That’s the aim of the whole project. I got nicked whilst making it and I had to change the direction a little bit. It felt like we were doing well and then… so it’s like, you never know who’s watching. No one knows. I feel “Intro” and “Outro” the most but I never even got to finish the tunes! Those sum up the project.”
As we closed our conversation over one mobile phone to another, LD – or Scribz – expressed his optimism and asserted his place as Godfather of the Drill scene once again.
“I want everyone to know I am the truth. I don’t know, somebody probably would’ve come up with Drill but it wasn’t them. It was me. I’m certain people’s dad and I’m not gonna stop. I still want to do something crazy. I’m trying to get someone like Lizzo on a drill track!”
Stream the excellent ‘Who’s Watching’ mixtape here!