2020 has been a breakthrough year for UK Drill in terms of commercial success as the genre has cemented its place in mainstream British pop culture.
However, that success has necessitated a shift away from the grittier, ruder, more violent lyrical style that hardcore fans clamour for, towards more radio-friendly content.
Enter Active Gxng. Hailing from Agar Grove Estate, in the Northwest London Borough of Camden, Active Gxng represent a resurgence of street-level, gang-beef-based lyrical warfare that exemplifies quintessential UK Drill circa 2015–2017. Basically, they’re hard as fuck.
With a membership of mainly Somalian descent, they’re backed by their allies FSG, CT1 and NRB, both on the streets and in tracks, in their beef with nearby Queen’s Crescent, Cumbo and Peckwater.
Active Gxng have been setting the underground alight for the past few months with a slew of vicious tracks on which they profess their prowess for violence with delivery that hits like a sledgehammer to the gut.
Prominent members include Suspect AKA Sus, Broadday AKA Broadday Assassin, 2Smokeyy AKA Rocky (who also reps CT1) and T.Scam (who also reps FSG).
Their track with NRB, Straight Facts, is a 4 minute and 18 second onslaught of disrespect towards opposing Camden gangs with more than 500k views on YouTube.
2Smokeyy: ‘9 in the 5 [Peckwater’s postcode is NW5] let me rise that tool / Ey brudda don’t think you’re cool / Anything P or C get K [killed] / There’s still hot shells for a Crescent fool’
Active Gxng’s intensity is second to none. The manner in which they’re shaking up the underground scene and generating interest is reminiscent of early 1011 or Harlem Spartans in years past.
They’re naming names, incidents and murder victims with reckless abandon. Boastful and bold, vigorous and violent, it’s a struggle to not get swept away by their torrent while listening to them.
They’re also not shy about collaborating with drill groups from other boroughs and have put in some of their best work so far through collaborations.
Suspect on No Hook, a brutal display of uncompromising rudeness over a ridiculously hard beat with West London gang coalition 156 — over 300k views on YouTube:
’13 times when Lebz got splashed / I never see a fuck boy scream like that / And I ain’t tryna hear none / How many opps got chinged and bun? / BA [Broadday] traps, he don’t do fraud / But it was broad day when Deetz got done / It was at night when Cotz got packed / They still want the suspect for that one’
T.Scam on Section 60, a track with North London’s TPL which was originally taken down from YouTube, presumably through police involvement:
’Lemme state some facts (Some facts) / Mizz got caught on a lack / Put in a riz and turned to a pack / Culprit got did in his chest / Straight through his tee / I think it came out his back / That’s only half of what’s in my ash / They’re literally ghostin’ / We have to go heaven to find most their gang’
Their rhyme schemes may be fairly standard for UK Drill, but their bars are granite-hard, they don’t force unnecessary punchlines and Suspect in particular has a gift for wordplay with a water-like flow.
Suspect on The Hotspot, released in October and already just shy of 800k views:
‘Warn’ see red tape, no ribbon / If he’s the past then that’s my present / I got a gift when it comes to cheffing / Wet man’s head and he learnt his lesson’
Make no mistake, these youths are taking no prisoners. While the content of their lyrics will understandably be distasteful to some, to others it denotes a return to form for the genre through core concepts of gangster energy and lyrics, rudeness and authenticity.
Active Gxng’s qualities as a collective and their solo potential, combined with their impressive work rate and ability to collaborate with other artists, see them set to go from strength to strength through the end of this year and into the next.
I’m calling it now. Active Gxng are the new Kings of Underground UK Drill.
Find a Spotify playlist with these tracks and others right here.