Favourite Rappers or Favourite Cappers? An online semiotic field study on Amsterdam drill production and consumption.
Jong, Joran de
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Through the Internet, drill rap has become increasingly popular across the globe as a novel offshoot of gangsta rap. The introduction of the music genre to the Netherlands caused widespread social concerns regarding the romanticisation of violence, especially knife crimes, that is allegedly inherent in drill. Despite being a relatively uncomprehended phenomenon, the Amsterdam drill scene, as one of the largest Dutch scenes, remains unstudied yet. Therefore, this thesis aims to exploratively provide a cultural and digital criminological understanding of the symbols that are used by Amsterdam drill rappers and that are interpreted and used by online drill consumers. In doing so, it applies a digital research design entailing content analysis of 173 Amsterdam drill music videos and ten weeks of netnographic fieldwork on online drill consumers. This mixed-method approach shows that Amsterdam drill rappers are using visual and audio symbols to brand an artistic persona grounded in commodified representations of resistance. Online drill consumers respond to these commodifications by discussing whom is the most authentic drill rapper. As they immerse themselves in the cathartic experiences of drill, the music genre is not a product of alienation or a lack of culture, but heavily intertwined with late modern mainstream culture.