The major backlash comes from of UK’s popular news platforms, Pitchfork, who according to their article titled, “Ed Sheeran’s UK drill video is somehow even weirder than you’d expect.”
The article written by Alphonse Pierre, goes to say;
“It’s happening again: Subgenres that have been dismissed by the popular music industry for years are being adopted by its biggest white stars. Just a couple of days after Justin Bieber laid down vocals on WizKid and Tems’ Afropop hit “Essence,” Ed Sheeran put out a drill-inspired remix of his single “Bad Habits,” which currently sits at No. 3 on the Hot 100.”
“What’s the big deal? Bieber and Sheeran are actually raising the visibility of these styles.” And while that may be true from a numbers standpoint, “Essence” was already a landmark moment for Afropop before Bieber, and drill was a worldwide phenomenon before Sheeran. Neither needed a boost.”
Now, Ed Sheeran is popularly associated as a pop singer, or some might say folk-pop. But it is an undaunted fact that the English song-writer has had passion for rapping for the longest time. He’s worked with rap artists like Devlin and Wretch 32 in the past. There’s even a YouTube video of him rapping on Nando’s Skank.
Pitchfork further solidifies their point;
“But of the two awkward collaborations, the Ed Sheeran remix, which features two of UK drill’s biggest current stars, Tion Wayne and Central Cee, is by far the weirdest. Not because this is the first time Sheeran has strayed outside of big-budget pop—he has a documented history with reggae—but because it feels like a parody that doesn’t realize it’s a parody.”
“Ever since it started in Chicago in the early 2010s, drill has been praised for the creative ways in which its many stars have built on trap, and criticized (sometimes unfairly) for amplifying neighborhood tensions.”
“It went on to spawn similar scenes throughout the world, from Brooklyn to Ghana to the UK. It has often struggled to break through on a mainstream scale, as the powers that be have fought against it—Chicago’s Chief Keef can’t perform in his own city, Brooklyn’s drill stars have had to go through hoops to put on hometown shows, and the UK’s war against the subgenre has been highly publicized (most recently, rising London star Digga D wasn’t able to do an interview for his first magazine cover story).”
And so the catch-22 is that Ed Sheeran may have tried profiting, to look more cooler, or parodised the situation. To the best of our knowledge, Ed has quite been an instrument and free-spirited person who has not only tried to jump on many genres but also supported the custodians.
We need to give people the chance to do things the best way they can. Ed Sheeran did not only sing in Twi (a local Ghanaian language), with Fuse ODG, but also worked on his album “Divide” (÷) with Ghanaian producer KillBeatz which saw him winning international awards.
We are not saying the above to juxtapose that talents outside the “white stars” category needs jump-start to be recognised, but it tells you how systematically weak the industry is, and how other genres are underappreciated.
What is your thought on this? Drop your comments below. We will also address Ivorian Doll’s issue with her label in our next post.