Grime artist Big Narstie has said the drill genre of rap music is being used as a scapegoat by politicians, police and the media to explain the rise of violent crime in London.
The rapper was speaking from the red carpet of the GRM Daily Rated Awards ceremony at the Hammersmith Apollo.
The awards recognise the significant influence that British urban music has on the music industry.
Ahead of the show, the rapper was asked if it was unfair that the genre was being linked by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick among others to violence in the capital.
Big Narstie, real name Tyrone Lindo, told the Press Association: “100% unfair. It’s a scapegoat, isn’t it? If cowboy films started making everyone start shooting guns, would they ban John Wayne?
“Yeah, there is a lot of crazy things happening in the street. But the Government has to understand it’s the music that is the only thing that is giving these kids a chance at changing their lives at the moment.
“Going back about 10 years ago, the only thing a black kid could do to get out of the ghetto was being a sports star. Now we can add music to that, which is a good achievement in itself.
“Drill does have a lot about it but it’s the truth. It’s what’s happening out there. You can’t ask these kids to talk about living in a stable household if they don’t.”
He added: “Being an artist comes with responsibility as well. You want people to come to your shows and feel safe.
“With great power comes great responsibility.”
Drill rapper Incognito, 23, real name Siddique Kamara, from the group Moscow17, was stabbed to death in Camberwell in south London in August.
Following the killing, the Met commissioner called on social media platforms such as YouTube to remove videos featuring groups like Moscow17 that she said glamorised violence.
Meanwhile, the shooting of a man in Tottenham Cemetery in the early hours of Monday prompted the 99th homicide investigation in the capital this year.
Stand-up comic Mo Gilligan, known as Mo the Comedian, is the host of the 2018 GRM Daily Rated Awards.
He urged authorities to listen to the young people making drill music in order to improve their lives and stop violence.
Gilligan said: “There’s young kids losing friends at the age of 16. The trauma of that is crazy.
“When someone loses someone at any age in life there’s trauma. But at that young age.
“Sometimes we get desensitised to violence. Let’s see what these young people are saying about the situation as opposed to saying it’s because of the music or the gangs. It’s not.”