Having formed this summer, East London drill collective 98s have wasted no time unveiling their anticipated debut mixtape Class Of 98s.
A sprawling, 15-track release featuring all ten members – KO, V9, DA, Al Chubbino, Billy Billions, Jimmy, Stally, Unknown T, Hitman and Mazza - of 98s, Class Of 98s is a celebration of the seemingly neverending conveyor belt of MC talent that has emerged from the E9 and E8 postcodes in recent years.
The collective’s four most recent singles are all included on the project, with ‘Family’, a track that racked up 300k YouTube streams in the first three days of its upload, up first. The impressive official video offers something new for the drill scene, documenting the collectives day at their luxury family mansion for a cookout, in which the dining area’s fourth wall is exposed to reveal a film crew on hand to document the action as they sit down to indulge, showcasing a lighthearted level of grandeur within the drill scene that’s rarely been seen.
Singles ‘Taco’ and ‘98 Degrees’ also feature, as does ‘Pay Attention’, a single that’s official video channels the same schoolyard aesthetic as that of the Class of 98s mixtape artwork.
All members of 98s are prominent figures in the scene in their own right, while some are already world-conquering solo artists in their own right, with drill posterboy Unknown T racking up 23 million YouTube streams on debut single ‘Homerton B’, his unmistakable baritone flow propelling him to the role of UK drill posterboy. Known for his rawness and scattergun flow, KO has had similar levels of success with ‘Caracara’ (4.5 million streams) and ‘9er Ting’, a collab with Unknown T (7.2 million streams), as has the Deadpool-style mask-donning V9 with ‘Charged Up’ (3.8 million streams) and ‘Right Or Wrong’ with KO (1.2 million streams).
Elsewhere, white mask-wearing Homerton native Jimmy has amassed 1.1 million streams on ‘Stay On’, Billy Billions has built a reputation around his singing ability and is the group’s choruses and hooks king, and Alchubbino is a ‘real’ rapper that harnesses an old-school flow. One that fans have perhaps heard the least about, Mazza is an exciting young artist who’s brimming with lyrical wit, much like his name suggests, Stally is a firecracker in possession of all the right attributes to make it as a hard drill rapper, while DA and Hitman are a wordsmith masked duo capable of effortlessly playing off each other’s lyrics.
A force to be reckoned with, Class of 98s showcases a drill collective ready to stake a claim as being the UK’s finest.