Drill music in New York City has long depicted the horrors in the streets, the blood of your brother staining the pavement. Brooklyn Drill pioneers’ Sheff G and 22gz took heavy UK 808s and applied them to the bullet dancing snares of Chicago drill; the king of the scene, Pop Smoke used his natural baritone voice to command rooms. All this, plus other notable artists made Brooklyn drill become a worldwide phenomenon. But the takeover would not last.
Sheff G got arrested, 22gz became a victim of Eric Adams bullshit anti-drill agenda, and Pop Smoke lost his life at an Airbnb in Los Angeles. The Bronx drill scene is different. The blood spilled lacks a conscience, with the performers being young adolescents. Notti Osama was stabbed to death on the 1 train and became attached to a viral TikTok dance and diss titled “Notti Bop” performed by Kyle Richh, Jenn Carter, and Tata. It’s grueling. The music has become a livestream of the increasing violence in the Bronx.
Ron Suno, comedian and rapper from Co-op City, claims he pioneered the Bronx drill scene. Co-op City is kinda nice compared to the rest of the borough. They have their own private police force separate from the NYPD, a mall, and even an Aldi a block away—Aldi is type fancy. You need a good credit score to live there.
It’s not typically the area that inspires good drill music, though it did birth Hip Hop pioneer Kurtis Blow. So when Suno, a former friend of popular streamer and pariah Kai Cenet, tried his hand at music inspired by Brooklyn drill and trap beats, he aimed to adopt an approach that added versatility into the sub genre. Suno also integrated comedy into his music by promoting songs via short skits on social media, blending the persona of serious rapper and tired IG reels comedian. In 2022, Suno would pivot his sound entirely to drill, entering a feud with Kay Flock over who pioneered an already flourishing drill scene in the Bronx. There’s nothing wrong with comedy and music, but the reality around Bronx drill lacks a comedic laugh track. There’s a difference between a drill track and a track with a drill beat. Suno may not be talking about smoking opps, but the content he peddles sounds detached from any consequence, yet just as toxic. In other words, Suno couldn’t be more far removed from the essence of drill, instead, he’s a DJ-Khaled-esque caricature of Bronx drill, appealing to the lowest common denominator.
ITS MY TIME, Ron Suno’s first project of 2023, is filled with dated drill production—tacky organs and 808s—flaunting features that often outshine the leading artist. With 14 songs clocking in at 32 minutes, ITS MY TIME sounds like if an influencer tried to make drill tracks. The opening cut, “ON COURT,” flexes a cookie cutter drill beat that feels as lifeless as a “808 Melo Type-beat” on YouTube. Thrown-together organs lead the charge and snares clatter alongside it, as Suno motivationally exclaims he takes no losses. It holds a similar inspiration to watching a Micro-Chop commercial. “HALL OF FAME” has guest spots from Kyle Richh and TaTa, who bring raucous energy to the track.
The problem with ITS MY TIME is Suno’s inability to ever stand out. On “LACKERS,” with production that sounds derivative to other tracks of the project, Suno packs his monotonous stick talk with boring bravado. Dougie B brings some life into the track but it’s not enough to make up for Suno’s lackluster performance. “CRUNCH EM” painfully sounds like the first listing in a YouTube search. Sha Ek is the only element that adds differentiation to this track, with his punk rock delivery making those few seconds feel like a shock from a defibrillator. “ANDREW WIGGINS” is a clear air ball for both Suno and Asian Doll. Asian Doll—who ludicrously proclaims themselves as the Queen of Drill (Katie Got Bandz and Dreezy may have something to say about that)—sounds more like Iggy Azalea getting sturdy.
ITS MY TIME lacks imagination in the production and Suno’s performance. With many rappers utilizing different influxes of vocal ranges on top of left-field, dizzying samples, what’s offered on ITS MY TIME feels flat and uninspired. There’s no artistic direction, no real experiences to pull from, just poor imitation and flattery. It’s drill music conjured in a boardroom meeting on the upper westside. It’s AI-generated and sold by Capitol records, like if FN Meka was real. Without the features, it’s hard to distinguish one track from another, each an onslaught of drill ingredients without the framework of a unique recipe. Ron Suno is creating nothing more than drill cosplay, imitation of a genre where he feels more like a fan than an artist.
Drill, with its many negative aspects, provides an outlet for young black men with an opportunity to make it out of their hoods and embark on a music career; it shouldn’t feel like a cash grab.
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