Families of teens murdered by drill rappers blast YouTube for promoting killer rap after latest fatality
Stanley Goupall's 15-year-old son, Jermaine, was killed by drill artist M-Trap 0 — aka 17-year-old Junior Simpson — who made videos in which he rapped about carrying out knife attacks like the one that killed Jermaine last summer.
In a separate incident, Marcel Addai, 18, a member of the Hoxton Boys, was stabbed to death by rival gang Fellows Court following threats made on social media and violent music videos.
His death was one of the first in London that was linked to drill rap. The judge said the videos posted on YouTube to taunt each other were “at the heart” of the attack in 2015.
Their heartbroken families today attacked YouTube for providing gangs with a platform to launch their violent or taunting lyrics.
It comes after a 16-year-old boy, named locally as John O, was knifed to death in Tulse Hill on Monday night, becoming London’s fifth murder victim in just six days.
Last night a drill rap gang taunted the boy’s family claiming he had his stomach “cut open like a bear” before his mother was seen “screaming it ain’t fair” in a sick YouTube video.
The murder is thought to be linked to rival drill gangs – Lower Tulse Hill and the Harlem Spartans from nearby Kennington. A user called Spartan H posted the taunt on YouTube, ending the written message with a laughing emoticon.
John O, known under the pseudonym JaySav, was linked to the Lower Tulse Hill gang, who made drill videos.
When asked about the 119th murder in the capital this year, Mr Goupall, 51, told the Sun Online: “It goes back to drill music. It’s the same old story.
“Basically I think it is inciting violence, it’s the first platform when a group of people are in conflict with one another.
“Once again it is inciting violence and it is the reason why drill music is being scrutinised and here’s another prime another of a young man getting cut and stabbed.
“Supporters say it gives young people energy and gives them a chance to express themselves but then you get the minority who don’t mean well to society and are causing another fatality.
“It makes me feel disappointed, you think we could leave it but then something happens again. The platforms it is on, on social media, need to be looked at again.
“Anything that sounds or looks violent, YouTube should have someone monitoring that.”
Drill – originally a Chicago slang term for shooting – often revolves around shootings, stabbings or other kinds of violence, recounting past hits and threatening potential targets.
Marcel Addai's death in 2015 was one of the first in the capital that was linked to drill.
Speaking from her Hoxton home today, Marcel’s gran June Addai, 66, told the Sun Online: “I think YouTube are very responsible because they allow these drill music videos to be online.
“They should stop doing it because people’s lives are at risk.
“It’s too violent, it has to stop. It needs to stop because too many people are losing their lives. All the families are ripped apart and you feel like there’s a big void in your life. It’s too much.
“This taunting each other and violence when artists say ‘I’m going to come down and shoot you, I’m going to cut you’ why are they doing this? Why? Why? They take the videos down but they just go back up again.
“It’s terrible [coping with Marcel’s death]. You try and get on with your life but you see his friends, or hear a certain tune on the radio…it’s upsetting and it makes you cry. It’s horrible.
“You feel guilty being alive when he’s not here. It’s devastating, it’s horrible. My husband can’t even have a picture round the house as it is too upsetting.
“It’s hard and it’s still going on and on. Every day there feels like there’s a new stabbing. It has to stop, it’s too much.”
Marcel’s uncle Sebastian, 34, added: “Nothing has been learned from Marcel’s death. The circles are repeating again. The music to them is saying ‘do this, do that’ and then they’re going out and doing it. It’s only getting worse.”
Supporters of drill say it’s an important way for young people – particularly those from tough backgrounds – to express themselves.
But police say the genre is escalating gang-on-gang violence in London, which is already at crisis levels.
The force has become so concerned about the ominous trend that it has asked YouTube to take down more than 50 videos. It has agreed to remove around 30.
Apple and Spotify have also come under fire for continuing to sell and stream drill music by the Lower Tulse Hill gang, also known as the "86" group and formerly "Trust No One".
The tracks often sell for 79p each or sometimes 99p – of which Apple would reportedly keep 30 per cent of the profits – while Spotify offers subscription download packages.
Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “Drill music is associated with lyrics which are about glamourising violence, serious violence — murder, stabbings — they describe the stabbings in great detail, with great joy and excitement.
“Often we have gangs who make drill videos and in them say what they are going to do to each other, and specifically what they are going to do to who.”
A judge spoke of drill’s “malign influence” in March when he jailed four teenagers for a total of 85 years over the murder of Mahamed Hassan, 17, who was stabbed in Battersea, South West London, in April last year.
Similarly, Judge Nicholas Cooke, QC, said Devone Pusey, 20, and Kai Stewart, 18, were “fuelled by musical taunts online” before killing Dean Pascal-Modeste in February 2017. They were jailed for a total of 37 years.
In just six days from October 31 to November 5 there have been five fatal stabbings in the capital.
The victims were Rocky Djelal, 38, Jai Sewell, 15, Malcolm Mide-Madariola, 17, Ayodeji Habeeb Azeez, 22, and the 16-year-old named locally as John O, who died on Monday.
There have been 119 murders in London so far this year, nearing last year’s total of 123. Of those, 22 were teenagers.
On Monday London Mayor Sadiq Khan warned it could take a “decade” to turn the tide of violent crime.
Gang-related deaths have soared since Scotland Yard slashed stop and searches from 700,000 in 2008 to 100,000 last year, resulting in 54,000 fewer arrests.
Sun Online have contacted YouTube for a response.
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