How Mixtape Madness’ ‘Beat The Clock’ Series Showcases The Greatness Of Drill Producers

Words: James Keith

One of the core tenets of UK drill is its production. The hi-hat triplets, the sliding 808 bass sounds, and its ominous vocal and string samples are the defining features of a classic instrumental. From the early blueprints thrashed out by Carns Hill and 67 to the modern experiments with grime, garage, R&B and Afrobeats, those three elements have remained steadfast and become shorthand for the genre itself in a way seldom seen in other genres. Unsurprisingly then, the producers who have carved out and fortified that identity have become as recognisable as the rappers themselves.

To put that to the test, British rap platform Mixtape Madness teamed up with adidas Originals for a new four-part series called Beat The Clock. Hosted by Walkz, also known as ‘The Drill Simon Cowell’, the idea of Beat The Clock was to give three samples to four of UK drill’s biggest producers, and after choosing their favourite, they’re each are given 10 minutes to build a brand new instrumental centred around their sample of choice.

The partnership arrives as adidas Originals launches the updated model of its ZX sneaker, which was first released last summer. Billed as a comfort-first shoe, the ZX has just been launched in a huge range of styles and colourways, from muted monochrome to bold splashes of colour. Arriving at a time when the vast majority of us are working from home, the ZX has been designed for relaxation and style above anything else.

Watch the videos below to see what Ghosty, Gotcha, Bkay and M1OnTheBeat pull off before the buzzer sounds.

You can check out the latest adidas Originals ZX here.



Primarily known as the “No Diet” producer, Ghosty’s list of credits is almost never-ending. Alongside 808Melo, AXL Beats and others, he played a major role in taking UK drill stateside and inspiring what would become known as Brooklyn drill, crafting hits for the likes of Fivio Foreign and 22Gz. Over on our shores, Ghosty has helped sculpt hits for Unknown T, Headie One, V9, M1llionz, OFB, Harlem Spartans, and was the brains behind the beat that became Dave’s drill outing, “Paper Cuts”. As Walkz well knows, one of the defining characteristics of a Ghosty production is his use of those all-important sliding 808s, that slippery, woozy bass sound. “There’s a lot of clones, a lot of people who want his sound,” Walkz points out, but no one has quite replicated Ghosty’s bass sound yet.


The brains behind two of drill’s biggest hits of all time—“Gun Lean” and “Keisha & Becky”—as far as breakout hits go, Gotcha’s sound is arguably the sound most people hear when they think of this genre. Another producer exporting UK drill from its South London source—on top of the aforementioned Russ cuts, Gotcha is also responsible for Ivorian Doll’s “Clout”, Zone 2’s infamous “No Censor!” and Australian drill crew OneFour’s signature hit, “The Message”. A widely revered figure, Gotcha has helped take drill mainstream and solidified the sound’s status as a cultural force to be reckoned with.


One of drill’s most adventurous producers, Bkay’s creative ambitions know no bounds. An early champion of the scene’s more melodic sound and one of the first to push what’s becoming known as ‘R&Drill’, Bkay has made a career out of pushing drill into new directions and taking risks no one else would dare to take. Krept & Konan’s “I Spy”, M1llionz’s “B1llionz”, CGM’s “No Porkies” and Poundz’s “Smooth Criminal” are just a few of his biggest hits, but what’s really earned him the respect of the scene is his drive to take the sound where it has never gone before. Aside from the added focus on melody, his productions weave in threads of grime, Afrobeats and bashment alongside some leftfield sample choices. Right now, drill is at its most experimental, risk-taking best, and Bkay is a central part of that.


Alongside MKThePlug, M1OnTheBeat is one of the lynchpins of The Brigade, which is an expansive collective of producers that also includes Gotcha and Bkay. Since The Brigade came together in 2015, they’ve produced an uncountable number of hits for just about every one of the scene’s major players. M1 alone is a name you can’t avoid in drill. In just the past couple of years, he’s produced huge hits for Morrisson (“Shots”), Digga D (“Woi”), Frosty (“County Lines”), Chip (“10 Commandments”) and perhaps biggest of all, Headie One and Drake’s “Only You Freestyle”. He’s also played a pivotal role in the cross-pollination between rap and drill, bridging the gaps between the two and forging bonds between the two scene’s biggest names. With his call sign attached to an overwhelming number of the genre’s most important tracks, drill is in M1’s DNA.

You can check out the latest adidas Originals ZX here.

Posted on March 17, 2021