Selected by: Dwayne Wilks
Photography: KillerWithTheAim

Name: M1OnTheBeat

Where He’s From: Tottenham, North London

When He Started: 2017

Genre: UK Drill

File Next To: MK The Plug, Ghosty, JBMadeIt

Sounds Like: “The best, really. The hardest sound out right now.”

First Music that Inspired Him: “The song that made me want to produce music myself was Chief Keef’s ‘Fool Ya’, so I’d say I was inspired by the original Chicago drill sound, and US trap. Coming up, I used to play a lot of Future and stuff and before that, as a youngen, I’d hear classic stuff like Jimmy Cliff around the house.”

Much like the genre he is currently spearheading, UK drill producer M1OnTheBeat has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the last few years. His affiliation with Tottenham drill collective OFB was borne, in part, from the good fortune of close proximity—he grew up near the infamous Broadwater Farm Estate, from which OFB are based. In providing the foundations for projects that have become cornerstones in the UK drill canon, projects like Headie One’s The One, The One Two and the joint Headie and RV project Drillers x Trappers, M1 also became a pioneer, introducing a distinct and trademark sound that pervades throughout UK drill today. “I was definitely the first one to start going crazy with the sliding 808s,” he tells TRENCH. “Nowadays it’s not drill if it doesn’t have that sound.”

At this point, M1 is one of a handful of go-to guys for a premium instrumental, as seen by the extensive list of top names he’s served with a sound that’s characterised by its often dreary and ominous tones, full of woozy basslines and chattering hi-hats. His list of placements is a who’s who of drill, including the likes of Loski and MizOrMac of Harlem Spartans, K-Trap and frequent collaborator Digga D, with whom he created maybe the biggest drill anthem of 2020 in “Woi”. If you’re of the opinion that it wasn’t the biggest UK drill songs of last year and that the title should go to, say, Headie One and Drake’s “Only You Freestyle”, then M1 wouldn’t mind because he produced that too. “The song with Drake,” he responds when asked of his proudest achievement thus far, “it doesn’t get much bigger than that, man.”

At only 22 years of age, M1OnTheBeat has already achieved more than most producers would dream of. Still, it’s not what he’s already done, but what he plans to do in the future that really excites him. “I don’t really have a career goal,” he says. “I just have ambitions to be great and produce for all sorts of artists from different places and genres. I’m tryna do absolutely everything, you know?” And he can’t wait to get his as-yet-untitled debut mixtape to the people later this year: “Up to this point, I feel like I’ve been going with the flow, but now I’m tryna have more of a presence in the world. As a producer, you tend to stay in the background and that can only take you so far.”

As of yet, drill beatmakers haven’t sought to be recognised beyond their producer tag, but as someone who’s already shifted the norm in the genre, such a move is right on brand for M1. As well as increasing his visibility, he also plans to use his upcoming project to expand his musical horizons. “Like I said, I want to do everything,” he adds. “You’ll see, though. I’m slowly locking into all the other sounds, and you’ll see the range on the tape.”

TRENCH Highlight...

Posted on March 24, 2021