In “Cosmic Drill,” which opens today at Ben Brown Fine Arts in London, the multidisciplinary artist reworks his own practice in 10 large-scale aluminum paintings. Imprinted with planetary photography and painted—and painted over—like street art, the processed works visualize the unexpected discovery of drill music.
The haunting dings of a Casio A, B flat, C flat, and D chime in jarring unison as they reverberate around Awol Erizku's Downtown Los Angeles studio. But the voice that follows the familiar keyboard riffs is not Crystal Waters nor any of the hundreds of remixes and reworks of her 1991 dance hit “Gypsy Woman (La da dee la da da),” but rather JAYPROB, a New York-based, self-described “photogRapper” who released the song “Bronxlyn” with recording artist Rocky Snyda as an NFT earlier this year. I’m slightly thrown off. “This is drill,” explains Erizku, happy with the success of his intended effect. Wearing a black snapback that reads “Esoteric” in chunky Medieval font, he bounces his head to the beat.