This is a worry. I despise the music, the style and the message, but the underlying authoritarianism, which is being applauded, is the thin edge of the wedge. If we censor, are we free? https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-13/australian-drill-rappers-onefour-battle-police/11779746 Just a month ago rap group OneFour was on the cusp of making it. It had millions of streams, major label offers and was about to embark on its first national tour. Today half the group is behind bars, its manager has been prohibited from interacting with group members and the OneFour tour was shut down after concerns were raised about public safety. This is the culmination of an unprecedented operation by NSW Police. NSW Police told Background Briefing they had actively prevented OneFour from taking to stages across Australia. Sergeant Nathan Trueman wants the group's members to know they won't be performing in front of Australian fans anytime soon. I'm going to use everything in my power to make your life miserable, until you stop doing what you're doing," he said. "Every aspect of your life. I'm going to make it uncomfortable for you." Sergeant Trueman, an officer with the state's high-profile Strike Force Raptor, has been instrumental in the police operation against the group. He's even gone as far as requesting streaming services remove OneFour's music from their libraries — a request that was denied. According to Triple J's group music director, Richard Kingsmill, the situation is unprecedented. "I can't think of any Australian artists in the time that I've been following music whose gigs and tours have been cancelled," he said. NSW Police has gone to extraordinary lengths to stop the group performing and told Background Briefing it was willing to use powers designed to target outlaw motorcycle gangs and terrorists. But the use of such powers doesn't sit well with former NSW director of public prosecutions Nicholas Cowdery. "To see this sort of legislation sought to be applied in circumstances like this with a group of people want to come together to play music, that really is a perversion of the original intention of the legislation," he said. Police believe it is justified, claiming parallels between violent crimes in Western Sydney and the group's lyrics to suggest OneFour poses a threat to public safety. Who are OneFour rappers and what is drill music? OneFour is one of the biggest musical acts in Australia right now. Its members have only been releasing music professionally for the past 12 months, but it has amassed 27 million views on YouTube and over 30 million streams on Spotify worldwide. There are four official members of OneFour: Spenny, YP, J-Emz and Lekks. In music videos, they wear Adidas and Nike tracksuits, occasionally taking it up a notch with designer shirts and bags from Givenchy and Louis Vuitton. Two of the members — YP and Lekks — also wear balaclavas and facemasks. That's because the courts have issued them with non-association orders, prohibiting them from interacting with each other. OneFour even raps about it. The group is credited with being Australia's first drill rappers. Drill is a darker, grittier genre of hip-hop that can be pretty violent and lyrically confronting. In the UK, drill has become synonymous with the so-called "postcode wars", with rival groups from different suburbs dissing each other, sparking a cycle of musical retaliations, according to BBC Radio DJ Kenny Allstar. "A lot of drill artists talk about what they've seen, it's social commentary about what they're around, the content is more raw," he said. UK police have stopped some drill rappers from performing in public and had their music videos removed from YouTube, and they have convinced the courts to stop artists from interacting with one another and saying certain lyrics.