Mayor Eric Adams’ rapper son is at odds with his dad over drill rap, saying in a recent interview it was “outrageous” for Hizzoner to call for a ban on the violence-glorifying genre.
Speaking to pop-culture glossy Complex for a story published Thursday, Jordan Coleman said his 61-year-old dad doesn’t totally understand drill music — a gritty, nihilistic style of rap that glorifies guns, drugs and violence against rivals.
“Coming out saying that the drill scene is going to be banned is outrageous, because you can’t ban a genre of music — any kind of genre of music,” the first son, 26, told the outlet.
In February, Adams called on social media companies to ban drill music after an 18-year-old rapper from the genre, Jayquan McKenley, aka Chii Wvttz, was shot and killed outside a recording studio in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
He blamed the genre and its presence on mainstream social media platforms for “contributing to the violence” being seen across the country, calling it “one of the rivers we have to dam.”
“You have a civic and corporate responsibility,” he told social media companies at the time.
“We pulled Trump off Twitter because of what he was spewing. Yet we are allowing music [with] displaying of guns, violence. We allow this to stay on the sites.”
Adams explained to reporters that he didn’t know what drill rap was until his son sent him videos of Brooklyn-born musician Pop Smoke, another drill scene rapper who was killed in a home invasion in Los Angeles in 2020.
Soon after the press conference, Coleman, who also works in the film department at Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, sent a text to his dad to tell him he was wrong.
“Dad, you cannot speak for me. I have drill rappers on our label as clients, and I like drill music. You cannot ban a genre. And I’m not sure why you said what you said, but I disagree,” Coleman said he wrote in the text.
“And he was like, ‘I understand what you’re saying, and you’re allowed to disagree. We come from different times.’”
While the two may not always see eye to eye, Coleman said understanding that his father is a product of a different generation is what “put everything in perspective” for him.
“So he was just like, ‘Hey, I said what I said, and I’m going to own up to it. What I’m saying and what I’m doing might be two different things. But what I’m doing is the proper thing,’” Coleman recalled.
“He has to understand that it’s a style people choose. There’s abstract art where people will throw paint on a canvas and then call it abstract. And then there’s mumble rap, and there’s other subgenres within hip-hop. His version of hip-hop was a little bit different from what my version of hip-hop is today.”
Following the controversial remarks, Adams sat down with a group of drill artists and had a “great conversation” about the genre where he explained his primary issue is how the music promotes real-life violence and the way it’s used to antagonize rivals.
“And they heard me,” Adams said after the sit-down.
“And we’re going to be rolling out something in the next few days to deal with this issue. It was a great conversation and I was happy to have them there.”
It’s not immediately clear what Adams meant by “rolling out something,” or if he ever did.
However, Coleman said his dad came to understand his son’s perspective and realized “you can’t take” something away “just because you might not like it, or because there’s controversy behind it.”
“As mayor of any city, you want your city to be safe, and you want people to have a good time in your city. You want people to come there, not to kill people, but to spend money and to enjoy themselves and create memories,” Coleman said.
“So I think his focus was on the social media companies to not promote the bragging of killing one another.”
Still, he acknowledged it’s a tricky line to toe “because that’s what that culture consists of.”
City Hall didn’t immediately comment.