Musician uses rap to tackle Pillgwenlly’s reputation as ‘dangerous small town’

Pillgwenlly is the most dangerous small town in Gwent, according to data analysis project CrimeRate, with 159 crimes per 1,000 people

Isaac George aka Truth [Credit: Isaac George]

Local grime artist Isaac George aka Truth uses spoken work activism to highlight the issues his community is facing and hopes to inspire a  generation to rise above Pillgwenlly’s reputation.

Pillgwenlly is statistically the most dangerous small town in Gwent according to CrimeRate, with 159 crimes per 1,000 people, that’s 112% higher than Wales’ National crime rate (25%). The most common crimes committed are violence and sexual offences where the town’s crime rate is significantly larger than the national average. 

“Criminal activity, poverty, violence, and reckless attitudes are not needed,” George told us, “music with the right message can inspire people to make a success of themselves.”

Newport City Council has recently taken action by placing PSPOs (Public Space Protection Orders) around the area. Still, in a recent article from WalesOnline, residents have felt that Pillgwenlly has become a place that has been left behind with a recent spike in drug crime and antisocial behaviour, with one resident pleading, “Don’t forget about Pill in there,” to a local council outside Newport’s Civic Centre. 

The small town made national headlines in 2021 with the death of Mouayed Bashir, who died shortly after being restrained by Gwent Police. The ongoing inquest has sparked debate around police brutality and institutionalised racism. The 19-year-old believes that if racism isn’t spoken about it becomes normalised, and it’s vital to use our voices to highlight the struggles felt in the community.

The need for young voices is critical, with the town’s negative reputation forever present in the media. The award-winning artist continues to use his community as inspiration, “venting” and making his frustrations heard through spoken work activism. He maintains that writing from your own perspective is paramount, and by doing so can build connections and form a foundation upon which people can assemble their lives.