Already banned from one postcode, the duo received a prison sentence for performing Attempted 1.0 – making legal history. ‘We’re being criminalised for making music’, they say

Sheltering from a sudden downpour in a parked car just off Brixton Road, London, are two of British music’s greatest new talents, and now biggest outlaws: Skengdo and AM. A fortnight ago, the Metropolitan police announced they had secured a sentence of nine months in prison for the two 21-year-old drill rappers, suspended for two years, for breaching a gang injunction issued in August last year.

The nature of the breach? Performing their song Attempted 1.0 at a London concert in early December. The suppression of black music in the UK stretches back 100 years, but, according to Index on Censorship, this is the first time in British legal history that a prison sentence has been issued for performing a song.

The concert, at 1,400-capacity Koko, was the culmination of a sold-out nationwide tour, a celebratory homecoming gig performed in front of a diverse crowd of moshing fans. “We ended the year on such a positive note, we were so proud of what we’d achieved,” says AM. “We were just really excited about 2019.” Skengdo rolls his eyes. “And what a fucking start to this year. I just feel violated.”

The backlash is already gathering pace: a forthcoming open letter signed by civil rights group Liberty and others calls the injunction “a threat to all our civil liberties”, that prevents young people from discussing “the reality of their lives with any hope of being heard.”

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