Everybody knows the Chief Keefs and the Pop Smokes, but the fact is that drill has expanded both artistically and geographically. Florida (and Jacksonville in particular), a historically quiet region for hiphop, has somehow emerged as the leader in a brand new, hot hiphop subgenre. Florida drill is distinct for its often more melodic, emotional moments, as well as over the top declarations of violence. Here we we will discuss some of the essential artists and songs of the Florida drill scene.
“Who I Smoke”
While maybe not the best representation of the scene, “Who I Smoke” is an instant classic and mandatory listen. Over a comical remix of Vanessa Carlton’s “When I See You”, several of the biggest names in the genre drop standout, high energy verses that are simply obscene. The hook consists of them namedropping dead opps, and the whole thing is somehow a hilarious, infectious, and chilling meeting of hiphop and real gang violence.
Certainly the biggest star out of the Florida drill scene, Yungeen Ace is also an artistic standout. Heavily influenced by the meeting of emotional melodies and harder raps of Kevin Gates, Ace is able to switch effortlessly between love songs and pure drill beats. On that note, he is very mature and has noted himself as careful when glorifying his lifestyle given potential influence on the culture. He is also a frequent collaborator of his brother Spinabenz and Louisiana’s Jaydayoungan. Responsible for some massive hits like “Step Harder”, “Opps”, “Jungle, and “Pain”, Ace is a head above many and has superstar potential.
Best known for his beef with Yungeen Ace and “Who I Smoke” response “When I See You”, Foolio goes far beyond the memes. Breaking out in 2018 with his collab tape with legendary producer Zaytoven, he is one of the most raw lyricists and pure drill rappers in Florida today. He comes up with creative concepts (“Ring Around the Rosie”), and places a lot of emphasis on his bars where many just pack their albums with filler raps and rely on energy. Instead, Foolio remains true to the game and is such a tough, fun listen; Very much in the vein of Chicago and New York drill, but with a Deep South flavor.
Very much a product of his influences, Orlando rapper Hotboii is one of the scene’s greatest breakout stars. Open about his love of Future (flipping “March Madness” on “Rich How I’m Dyin”) and Kodak Black, you might also hear a lot of Lil Baby in his high pitch voice and singing voice. While Hotboii is versatile, making plenty of traditional bangers, much of his work tends to go a bit softer and melodic. This makes him a great foil to other harder artists out, filling that Sleepy Hallow or Lil Durk role, and brings potential for crossover hits. On top of that, he is building one of the more consistent discographies in Florida, grabbing tight features and structuring his work very well.
SpotemGottem is already a big name in the Florida drill scene despite not coming close to reaching his potential yet. Breaking out on TikTok for his hit “Beat Box” and its remixes featuring the likes of Dababy, NLE Choppa, and Pooh Shiesty, Spotem definitely has some national appeal. Sporting a high pitched voice and clear drawl, he brings real energy to everything he does; That being said, his slurred accent is rivaled only by Kodak Black and could be an acquired taste. While his albums are solid and versatile, its really these big singles that he, like many drill artists worldwide, leans into. If he continues to refine his songwriting though, SpotemGottem could be a name to watch out for.