A new addition to the bandwagon of blame for crime discovered

Now that the year is coming to an end, it is safe to say that this year has seen an undeniable rise in crime, with London’s murder rate in 2018 being the highest in a calendar year for a decade. There have been 125 murders in the Capital in 2018, with 83 of those being reported as knife or gun-related deaths.

Until recently, there was never a single or main factor used to explain the reason for violence which has led to the increase in crimes over the years.

Many of the mainstream media outlets have begun to express their views on one of the newer genres of music, drill, being one of the major influences in the rise of crimes in and around London. After speaking with former gang member, Darnell from Brixton, South London he was able to explain his insight on this viewpoint.

Drill music has been defined as “A style of trap music that originated in the South Side of Chicago in the early 2010s. The genre is a prominent feature of Chicago hip hop, and is defined by its dark, violent, nihilistic lyrical content and ominous trap-influenced beats.”

The drill genre can be traced back to starting in the UK around 2013, with artists such as Stickz, Mdargg, Grizzy and 67, but the genre began to peak in 2015 when Harlem Spartans, 86, 410, OFB, Zone 2 and many more artists started to make drill music.

Former gang member, Darnell, expressed his disapproval of the suggestion that drill music is influencing violence, he stated “I would understand if drill was being suggested to be a factor in some cases, in terms of retaliation but not solely as the cause of violence in crimes, that is ridiculous”. He went on to tell me that “drill is a way for the youths to express their feelings and past experiences, similar to a diary, even though the music is very violent and explicit, it’s better than these youths standing around on street corners causing trouble, we are all trying to get out of the hood.”

The idea that the lyrics in many drill songs are very explicit and violent is indisputable. When listening to some drill songs to get a feel and understanding of the genre, one freestyle by a gang called 1011, consisted of lyrics including “don’t talk like you’re bad, you ain’t on that”, “verbal use is long, akh, stop that, back out the mash and drop that, shot that” and “back out my shank and dip it, ballistic, push in my shank and twist it”. These lyrics are ultimately describing the action of stabbing an individual, this showcases the level of violence presented throughout drill music however this is not a good enough reason to be used to explain the cause of violence in individuals and the increase in the crime rate.

When asking former gang member and youth worker, Darnell about the drill lyrics he explained that “the lyrics are the harsh reality of the situations we are faced with; many youths join gangs due to the brotherly love that you experience from it, a lot of them grew up in broken homes and gangs display the love and security that everyone longs for or for money through drug dealing as trying to get a job as a black male is very difficult”

Darnell, expressed that “the issue of violence and crime started long before drill music, if there was a stronger support system in place in terms of easier ways to make money, better educational systems, and social support for example youth clubs, there will definitely not be as much crime as there is now, as these gang members are getting younger and younger by the day”

What used to seem like random, unaccountable crime is now having its root causes analysed and the mainstream media are pointing the blame in the direction of the evolving genre, drill. It could be said that targeting musicians is a distraction, instead the main focus should be on a way to tackle crime, and this can only be achieved through tactics that the government system can put in place.

After speaking with former gang member, Darnell, he helped me to understand that these drill artists are really crying out for help, they’re speaking on a mental anguish that has engulfed them but fails to be addressed. It cannot be said that drill has never influenced violence, however, drill is also a good way to show the young people of today and the future generations that everyone’s skills can be used for something, even if it is not present in the world currently. So, instead of trying to find the cause of violence, a solution needs to be worked on.



Students needs and desires change after realisation kicks in after the first term

Demands of students change after the first term of enjoying the student life to the max as many are now seeking work since coming back from the Christmas break to University living.

 A large number of students have returned to University after spending some time back at home, this being the first time for many. Christmas is seen as the time for giving and receiving, family time, happiness and enjoyment. However, instead this was a time for consideration for many University students as they thought about how carelessly they spent their money that they had remaining from their student finance after paying rent. So, for many the choice to get a part-time retail job is what had come to mind in order to earn spare money to fulfil their spending habits whilst still being able to survive in terms of living expenses.

But, when is life ever that easy? With the demand for jobs being at its peak at this moment in time it is being proven to be very difficult to find a job despite the developments happening in Colchester Town Centre including the new opening of some restaurants including Turtle Bay and Five Guys also Wagamama’s which is opening soon. Even though there are over 50 stores in and around Colchester Town Centre there has been a lack of vacancies within the area which is causing a lot of difficulty for students and could end up causing stress as no student will want a repeat of their first term in terms of poor budgeting.

The choice of getting a part-time job is one that needs careful consideration as they will need to make a crucial decision as the ability to balance a part-time job whilst in full-time education can be very challenging and this could cause their educational performance to be jeopardised. So, the real question would be, is getting a part-time whilst still in full-time education really worth it?

The rise in crime in the UK in 2018 is creating fear in general public

Over the Summer holiday, many students returned to their homes to spend time with their families, this was cut short for many as violence began to escalate in London, with over 90 people being murdered since the beginning of the year.

2018 has seen a significant rise in the number of crimes committed throughout the UK. “Police figures have revealed, the murder rate is up by 44% and youth murder, personal robbery and home burglary are all up by about a third”.

Some of the crimes which occurred in London included 17-year-old, Tanesha Melbourne who was shot dead in Tottenham, this came as a shock for many as an innocent female had now come in the crossfire of the gang wars. 18-year-old, Israel Ogunsola who was stabbed to death in Hackney on April 4thand 20-year-old, Elyon Poku who was also stabbed to death in Stamford Hill on September 22nd.

Not only is this scary for the general public but also many parents and students. University of Essex student, Calum, explained to me “me and my mother decided that it’s best for me to go back to university early, she’s scared for my safety.”

But is that the best decision, as the crime levels in and around the university have risen this academic year, with a reported rape, a male being stabbed in his face, and a male also being stabbed in his back.

The question is, is anywhere in fact safe from crime? Hopefully the crime rates will begin to improve, and these issues are tackled promptly so everyone can go back to feeling safe.

An Opportunity for Diversity? BAME it is

With the increasing numbers of international students joining the University of Essex every year, the issue of racism ‘is not as common as one would expect’ whichcould have been a potential issue.

The Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Students’ Network brings together all students from a BAME background in order to tackle many ongoing issues and other problems which could have a detrimental effect on many. The BAME network aim to combat racism and discrimination; raise awareness of the issues that BAME students face, and their contribution to the University and wider society; provide a safe-space environment; organise events that are tailored to the needs and tastes of BAME students: help tackle and improve BAME student attainment gap.

Whilst having the opportunity to speak with the BAME officer, Vimbai Mufunde who I managed to find on an off chance. She managed to inform me on how she and her fellow BAME reps are able to achieve their goals as well as keeping their 596 members across both campuses informed and interested. Vimbai informed me that the issue of racism ‘is not as common as one would expect’ and the little that does occur is being tackled at an exceptional rate especially through the termly forums which are open space for discussion – the last one was on Tuesday 14thNovember 2017.

Previous events include Black History Month Career Event (16-10-2017), Uncomfortable Conversations (17-10-2017), The Future is Female (18-10-2017), Just an Ordinary Lawyer (19-10-2017) and Service of Thanksgiving to Martin Luther King Jr and Transatlantic History through the African Historian’s Eyes (20-10-2017), a mixer which is a social event where discussions about plans for the rest of the year are raised (28-11-2017), BAME nation which is an alumni and careers event (29-01-2018), A BAME cine10 which will show ethnic and international movies such as Bollywood and Nollywood, A food festival which showcases different cultures through music, performances and food from all around the world in collaboration with the International Student Association, One World Essex .

Email communication is available to express any view, opinions or feelings ‘BAMEOfficer@essex.ac.uk

Second year students struggle to secure housing 2018 despite high deposit prices

As the autumn term of university begins, many students have returned to university either feeling secure with their student housing situation or have come back ultimately being homeless.

When speaking with second year students, I found that many in fact struggled to find housing in Essex that was both affordable and not too far from the main campus. When speaking with Sports Science student, Tosan, she described the house prices as “unreasonable and unrealistic”.

She then went on to explain that she had been actively looking for a two-bedroom house since January 2018 and she managed to find a house in June 2018, with her and her housemate having to pay a deposit of £1800 each.

With the fact that many students, rely solely on their maintenance loans provided by Student Finance England which is split into three instalments paid in October, January and April this is in fact unrealistic for many students.

Not only did I find out about the unreasonable prices whilst talking to students, I was also informed about some extreme cases where estate agents did not have the student properties ready in time for the beginning of term. After speaking to one student who did not want to be named, he explained that he had sorted out his house in good timing, however there were some complications which led to them being given temporary accommodation which was in an unacceptable condition, they were then given a refund unexpectedly so they had to go through the process of looking for a house once university had already started.

So, what is going to be done about this? Is there a way that the university can help or intervene or is there any way more university led accommodation can be provided for second- and third-year students?

The Journey Begins!

My name is Taylah and currently a student at The University Of Essex. I was born in Hackney, East London in 1999 and later moved to Enfield, North London. I have always had a keen interest in writing and with being submersed in music from a young age, this has fuelled my desire to become a music journalist in the future. So, the decision to study Multimedia Journalism was not a difficult decision for me as I feel that it will provide me with the insights and skills needed to be successful in the field of journalism. My websites can be found at: tasteoftaylah.wordpress.com and dailydosageofmusic.wordpress.com

Thanks for joining me!


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