M1onTheBeat: The Mixtape review | Alexis Petridis’s album of the week


In 2018, a website dedicated to dance music published an article about M1onTheBeat, a producer. This happened during the peak of UK drill’s infamy. Despite already being recognized as one of the primary creators of this rap subgenre, the article depicted his career as one on the fringe of the music industry. He had developed his skills while living in a YMCA hostel with MKThePlug, a frequent collaborator. His makeshift studio consisted of only a laptop and a pair of old speakers in a bedroom of a flat in Tottenham. The walls of this room were damaged, with chunks of plaster missing, and apparently, M1onTheBeat had to remove the soundproofing due to complaints from neighbors who mistook his studio for a drug den. As a result, three of his co-produced drill tracks were taken down from YouTube. Given these circumstances, it seemed unlikely that UK drill would ever break into mainstream success, and it was hard to imagine M1onTheBeat leaving his run-down bedroom studio anytime soon.

The artwork for The Mixtape.

After five years, everything has been completely transformed. The first mixtape from M1onTheBeat begins with a message from an answering machine, in which he mentions being busy and working hard to make things happen. He believes that history is not made by those who sit still and do nothing. The “this” he refers to is most likely the unexpected success of UK drill music. The genre now produces chart-topping singles and albums, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that the producer played a significant role in its rise. He has created hits for artists like Digga D and K-Trap, both of whom are featured on his mixtape. In 2018, Loski’s album Call Me Loose, which also had M1onTheBeat’s involvement, was named by Drake as an influence on his album Scorpion. To back up his words, the Canadian superstar appeared on a freestyle with Headie One, with M1onTheBeat providing the production.

M1onTheBeat’s initial mixtape offers insight into the expanding influence of UK drill beyond its origins in London. The distinct accents of Huddersfield rapper Booter Bee and Birmingham’s M1llionz add a unique touch to the music, similar to SL’s subtle and conversational style. The mixtape showcases M1onTheBeat’s signature sparse sound, giving the listener a sense of being in a dimly lit, smoke-filled bedroom in the early morning. The tracks feature dreamy synths, intricate electronic patterns, and heavy 808 beats that draw inspiration from the British genre of jungle.

This type of music has been copied by others, resulting in an influx of instructional videos on how to create tracks similar to “M1onTheBeat.” Last year, the artist expressed frustration on social media about other producers releasing exact replicas of his beats. The first song, “Tsunami x 2,” and the feature “Royal Navy” by Booter Bee, both showcase the transformation of a classic euphoric rave synth into a haunting sound. It’s easy to see why others would want to imitate this style. There is a powerful and unsettling quality to his music; it’s not necessarily threatening, but rather desolate. The open spaces in the sound leave room for rappers to perform, but it also adds an element of despair to their lyrics about violence.

Even more impressive are the songs that deviate from the original plan of the producer. He has a fascinating method of using common pop elements and slightly altering them until they take on a unique identity. The use of AutoTune on Top Form gives the vocals an underwater effect. The gentle acoustic guitar melody accompanying Cristale’s guest appearance on Sing Dat fades in and out unexpectedly, as if it’s playing through a shaky connection. The R&B vocal samples on AM to PM are placed in the background, blending into the music rather than standing out.

The final song, titled Hear No Evil, See No Evil, stands out the most. This is partly due to the change in lyrics from drill-related topics by Kojey Radical and Knucks, and partly because of the catchy chorus sung by Miraa May and the unexpected use of electric piano. The song has the potential to be a hit single if it were not for the second half being filled with congratulatory messages for M1onTheBeat’s success. While these messages may not be necessary, The Mixtape still deserves recognition for M1onTheBeat’s ability to incorporate pop music into his own style.


Alexis spent the week listening to music.

Tirzah – Their Love

I have been listening to Tirzah’s album on my stereo for weeks now, mainly because of songs like “Their Love” which features a lovely piano ballad that gives the impression of being played from the depths of a well.

Source: theguardian.com