The Roadworks programme uses UK drill and rap to as a means to engage and educate young people…

A youth project is helping to challenge negative stereotypes about UK drill music, as well as engage and educate young people at risk of exclusion.

Founded by youth worker and journalist Ciaran Thapar, alongside MC and ethnomusicologist Mehryar Golestani, aka Reveal, Roadworks delivers critical thinking, social science and careers-skills workshops in schools and youth clubs.

The course engages young people through music, encouraging them to see where they sit in the context of UK rap history (introducing them to seminal crews like London Posse, for example) and to engage with issues and art in a critical way: everything from linking drill to Greek philosophy, to focussing on careers and skils - such as management, distribution, marketing and videography - as well as studio sessions.

The organisation also provides young participants the opportunity to write, record and promote their own music with the help of music industry experts.

The charity’s first single, also titled ‘Roadworks’, is out now, and it was written, produced and recorded by artists in the first cohort of graduates from the pilot course - Rippa, I.D., Tarzan, F2Anti and Ishmatic Beats.

It is a melodic take on UK drill music, thoughtfully reflecting on the pressures experienced by many young men in disenfranchised corners of the capital city. All financial proceeds from the song will go back into helping to grow the course across 2020.

A documentary called ‘Roadworks: Beyond the Road’, directed and produced by Jake Jones, has also been released, telling the behind-the-scenes story of the course pilot in August 2019. It features interviews with a range of Roadworks participants as well as Thapar, Golestani, CEO of Defenders Entertainment Corey Johnson, and Pacman TV.

Check out the documentary below to find out more about this vital project.

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Photo credit: Tristan Bejawn

Buy and stream Roadworks here - all proceeds will support expanding the programme in 2020.

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