M1onTheBeat has been busy. At just 22 years of age, the London-based producer is responsible for some of UK Drill’s biggest anthems, having crafted dynamically dark hits for frontrunners like CB, Loski, and Digga D. His melodic ear (“I usually like to use two melodies, three melodies, and let all of them bounce off each other so the audience don’t get bored”) and distinctly menacing use of drill’s trademark sliding 808s ultimately led to a transatlantic collab with Headie One and Drake on “Only You Freestyle” — a hauntingly minimalist track that kickstarted his meteoric rise to fame and earned him GRM Daily’s coveted 2021 Producer of the Year Award.
Watch this Sketches video to see how M1onTheBeat layers melodies, creates his signature sliding 808 basslines, and arranges it all in FL Studio. After the video, keep scrolling to listen to five of M1OnTheBeat’s biggest productions.
In this Sketches video, M1onTheBeat builds a richly-layered track from scratch in FL Studio using a dynamic range of KONTAKT instruments and effects. After laying down a cinematic melody with Output’s Analog Strings, M1 programs his singing bass slides to create a thick, lyrical foundation for the remaining layers. Then he builds the drums from percussion samples and crafts a somber secondary melody with CREMONA QUARTET’s orchestral strings before turning his attention to an improvised flow-forward kick drum sequence — all of it topped off with a third melancholy melody courtesy of HYBRID KEYS. Finally, with his sonic infrastructure in place, M1 strategically rearranges the sketch to polish the percolating intro and ominous half-time outro, which uses the Gross Beat plug-in for FL Studio.
Check out all of our SKETCHES series here.
M1’S ON THE BEAT
Check out five of the biggest drill hits M1OntheBeat has produced.
Headie One “Only You Freestyle (with Drake)”
The lead single on Headie One’s highly-acclaimed debut studio album Edna, this is the track that put M1 on the map. Packed with ethereal vocal harmonies, “Only You Freestyle” finds Drake taking a slang-heavy shot at flowing over UK drill alongside its undisputed lyrical king. A strikingly stripped-down heavy hitter.
CGM “Next Up?”
“Next Up?” finds M1 lending his melancholic mastery to Ladbroke Grove collective CGM (formerly known as 1011). Gritty 808s complement the vivid lyrical imagery while the lumbering, piano-heavy beat highlights the stream of exquisitely unorthodox flows from Digga D, Sav’O, and T.Y. This track reached one million views in under 2 weeks, making it one of the fastest rising rap singles in the UK and taking M1’s name on a meteoric rise with it.
Headie One “Golden Boot”
Named after the award given to the top Premier League scorer, this infectious, club-ready banger was something of a self-fulfilling prophecy – an absolutely massive hit whose football-heavy bars shine bright thanks to M1’s hazy phrasing and melodic minimalism.
Digga D “Woi”
M1 lends his smoldering sonic signature to the biggest UK Drill anthem of 2020 — a song so big that it spawned its own #woichallenge Tik Tok meme. Fresh out of a 15-month prison stint, Digga D’s delivery is as humorous as it is high strung, and M1’s restless, start/stop production perfectly mirrors the frenzied lyrical tension.
CB “Take That Risk”
This eerily combative track catapulted CB to instant fame. Flooded with sinister synths and trunk-rumbling 808s, M1’s frenetic percussion and meticulously-layered drums pack the track with a dark and palpable anxiety.
Words: Evan James