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The next evolution of New York Drill is ‘Sexy’

By now, most people will be familiar with the distinct sound of Brooklyn Drill – a high-energy, street-oriented style combining the particular sounds of UK production and the aggressive, raw delivery of Chicago drill with the unmistakable feel of hip-hop’s birthplace. It was first popularized by young Brooklyn-based artists like 22Gz, Sheff G and Sleepy Hallow and brought to new heights by its first true superstars in Pop Smoke and Fivio Foreign.

Then there was Bronx Drill, a variation on the popular sound characterized by heavy samples, raspy flows, and an even more aggressive disposition – represented by a new and even bolder generation of young artists like Kay Flock, B-Lovee, D Thang, Sha EK and much more.

All the while, the next evolution of the regional sound has been bubbling below the surface: one that is equally fun, energetic and unmistakably New York as the current prevailing sound, but without the hard edge, controversy or looming threat of indictments. A sound so infectious it has caught the ears of everyone from B-Lovee, Lil Yachty, King Combs and reportedly even Drake himself. Introducing Sexy Drill.

Spearheaded by Cash Cobain, Chow Lee, Lonny Love and 2219Lee, “Sexy Drill” is a softer-edged take on the drill sound. It incorporates some of its most compelling sonic qualities – like the signature asymmetrical drum patterns and chaotic, idiosyncratic flows – and infuses them with a vibey, R&B feel. Replacing the raspy flow and over-the-top disses for lighthearted jabs and bold sexual advances, Sexy Drill is about creating fun, female-friendly party tracks often sampled from beloved R&B hits of yesteryear. And because it maintains the same general structure, all the same sturdy dance moves still apply. 

The architect behind the sound appears to be the multi-talented artist-producer, Cash Cobain, whose vibey, less-is-more approach to production and ear for soulful drill-flipped samples serve as the backbone for the infectious subgenre. Along with his uniquely saucy samples and crisp drums, his conspicuous producer tag “And this beat from Cash not from Youtube” makes his production stand out from a sea of increasingly similar Youtube type beats.  

Affectionately known as Slizzy, Cash said it best himself when OGM’s Hakeem Rowe asked him last year what the most important thing about a Cash Cobain beat is: “It has to be sexy”

According to Glyn Brown, Cash’s manager and an important behind-scenes-player, the origin of Sexy Drill can be traced back almost exactly one year ago in June 2021 when Chow and Lonny were joined by Cash on “Nobody” off their joint project Lovelee – a super catchy, Slizzy-flipped Keith Sweat sample to mark the trio’s official arrival on the scene. 

Later that summer, Cash dropped the feature-packed Nirvana. Of course it featured Chow and Lonny, as well as a number of familiar faces from the Sexy Drill Universe including 2219 Lee, FLEE, Matthew Ali and Swoosh God – the latter of which joined for what is still one of Cash’s biggest songs to date, “Alone.” It was also around this time when Cash dropped two of his most defining songs, “Slizzy/What It Mean” and “Boi” and cemented some of his favorite catchphrases like “Slizzy Slat” and “What Else?” 

Following his joint project with Lonny, Chow Lee dropped Sue Me and Sue Me Deluxe, his own exploration of the addicting sexy drill sound built around popular nostalgia-inducing samples like Drake and The Weeknd’s “Crew Love” on “Power Crew,” or “Stacy’s Mom” on “Milf Next Door.” 

A clear standout from these projects would have to be “STFU Summer,” Chow’s hilariously irreverent response to Summer Walker’s empowered female perspective outlined in her album released around the same time. “I Got Them” with Cash and Swoosh God was another moment around this time that really exemplified the impressive range and soulful appeal of their particular style.

Lonny Love is another important voice in the Sexy Drill movement. A frequent collaborator of Cash and Chow, he dropped his own project last fall I Lied When I Said I Love You – most notably featuring the Chow Lee collab “F*cked in Aspen.”  

It wasn’t until his recent project, Hoechella, released in May that Lonny really showed his full potential. Jam-packed with the punchiest production and sexiest samples imaginable, the tape is an excellent showcase of his unique approach to the sound – bringing a slightly more rap-first approach on songs like “Go Down” and “Moment Freestyle” incorporating some of the infectious elements of “traditional” NYC drill, like its raspy flow or ‘Gltaow!” gun-sound ad-libs. The Sexy Drill trifecta united on this project once again on “Dealt Wit” and the incredibly hard-hitting “Booka.”

Last but certainly not least is 2219Lee. While he’s been dropping music since 2019, Lee kicked it into high gear this spring with the release of 2219 – his debut project executive produced by Cash Cobain exploring a range of innovative sounds. While he channels the Sexy Drill sound on collabs with Chow, Lonny and Cash, he also brings something new to the table as he walks listeners through a variety of other styles with the turnt-up “Swv” with Max YB, his Don Toliver-esque delivery on “Not the Same”, or his full-on Shawny Binladen flow on “I’m Sorry” across what may be the most polished-sounding project from the blossoming subgenre yet.

A new high water mark for Sexy Drill would come in March of 2022 when Cash Cobain and Chow Lee appeared on NYC’s now mandatory stop for bubbling new artists, On the Radar with Gabe P. During their appearance, they absolutely killed their performance of “JHoliday” and “Vacant” – two clear standouts from their joint project 2 Slizzy 2 Sexy released in April. Between their unique production, charistmatic delivery and nonstop quotable bars (Most notably: I wanna fight every n***a that had it” and “Dont say god bless you when I sneeze cuz I’m already blessed b*tch”), this performance quickly became one of the biggest-ever freestyles on the On the Radar platform and an important step in introducing the Sexy Drill sound to a wider audience.

For those that may still be unconvinced, it’s worth reviewing the various co-signs Cash Cobain and his sexy take on the city’s sound have earned. Last year, Lil Yachty slid over a “Not from Youtube” beat that tenderly sampled Ne-Yo’s nostalgic “Sexy Love,” and Bronx drill phenom B-Lovee had one of his biggest songs to date with an unorthodox drill-flipped Mary J Blige sample on “My Everything.” Additionally, King Combs got the Slizzy treatment for his single “A Dream” and even underground king LUCKI jumped on a Cash Cobain beat before the sexy wave even got underway. Even DaBaby made a cameo alongside the gang in the “Boi” music video. 

While the bouncy, dance feel of Drake’s polarizing Honestly, Nevermind may have caught some off guard, fans of the Sexy Drill sound were excited to hear a familiar approach that put the emphasis on vibes and dance-friendly production. In huge news, Cash revealed to Gabe during his On the Radar interview that he cooked up a special beat at the request of Drizzy himself – before uttering one of the calmest flexes of all time when he said “Boat (Lil Yachty) is my Drake plug” in explaining how the monumental connection came together. 

There’s no word yet on when or if that song will see the light of the day, but if Drake is interested then it seems safe to ignore all the naysayers who haven’t caught on yet. Like he said on the night of his latest album release: “We caught up already.”

Overall, Sexy Drill is a fun, creative and refreshing take on the NYC drill sound. Orchestrated by a talented group of forward-thinking artists and producers, Cash Cobain, Chow Lee, Lonny Love and 2219 are giving a much-needed, lighthearted face to the city’s sound – not to mention a sexy soundtrack for the Summer of ‘22.

Watch “JHoliday / Vacant” and “Nobody” below