He don’t dance but he might just bust a one two boogie. M24 started off 2023 with a bang as he let his fans know this is going to be a big year for him. The Drill rapper released his first single of the year, ‘Gunman’ in January, a teaser for fans which had them anticipating what’s coming next for the rising star. Fresh off being listed on No Signal Radio’s “Class of ’22 edition” Yearbook, along with exciting artists like Knucks, Flo and Skillibeng. It‘s clear to see that the Brixton rapper has been making waves within the UK scene, with his refreshing brand of music. Being hailed as one of the few artists worth watching closely due to his success over the last 12 months, ‘Knock Knock’ featuring Tion Wayne really helped bring Drill to the forefront of the UK music scene last year, becoming an instant club banger.
Along with his ever-growing Rap career, we saw M24 immerse himself in the world of acting, hitting our TV screens as one of the main characters in the hit drama UK series Jungle. Exclusively available on Prime, we saw the rapper make his acting debut amongst other rappers in the UK scene. This role gave him the creative freedom to create and write his own bars for the musical side of the series, as he portrayed a rapper. VIPER sat down with M24 to talk about his acting career, plans for 2023 and his upcoming project.
2020 was a real breakout year for you but 2022 was very successful for you. How has 2023 started for you so far?
Well [breaking] my knee has slowed a lot of things down but it doesn’t mean I’m not also working. I’ve been working from home – I’ve got a little studio set up at home – and I’ve been making a few bangers to go on my mixtape that I’m releasing sometime this year. Right now I’m at the point I’m trying to find the dates and strategy to release the mixtape; but that’s what I’m currently working on, a mixtape and a few more singles to be released.
Your first release this year was ‘Gunman’, what’s the response been like?
With ‘Gunman’, it wasn’t something that I expected to do anything. People expect the cliche M24 a lot of the time so that was just something to push out there whilst I’m working on other things for them to still know that I’m still here working. It was a quick, jumpy single to put out there for the people. There wasn’t too much thought behind it, it was just something that I made and thought, this one sounds hard.
You have two styles of songs – the big Drill bangers but then you also have some dark, slow songs. Do you see it as two different styles? Or do you just see it as a mood?
Yeah that’s exactly what it is, it’s like a mood. It’s whatever feels right at the time and when I hear a beat, it speaks to me. The beat lets me know how I’m going to hit it; when I hear the beat, I get a mood from it and that’s how I’m gonna approach it. I wouldn’t say I plan in my head like “ok this is a different kind of style.” I’m open to jumping on different kinds of beats and however I feel about it is how I’m going to approach it.
So do you ever hear a style of track where you’re like, “This is great but I just don’t even know how to approach it” – like the beat’s great, it just doesn’t suit your style?
Definitely, all the time. If the 808s ain’t hitting in the right places, a beat will be great and jumpy or whatever. But now, especially at this stage of my career, I like to jump on beats with a little something different to them. I don’t like jumping on any normal Drill beat any more, it just sounds cliche.
Some say that Drill’s dying, what’s your view on that?
No I don’t think Drill’s done, Drill’s a very unique sound. If anything, Drill’s only just starting to get the recognition that it deserves. Obviously, a lot of things are coming from Drill, which is why people may think that but, I don’t even think Drill’s actually started to have its full impact yet.
It keeps evolving into something, rather than just being played out.
Definitely, 100%! It’s not even started yet, I hear so many people jumping onto Drill, even in Africa now. So many different countries that you would have never expected people to even understand the Drill culture. Everyone’s starting to jump on Drill culture so I don’t think Drill’s quite done yet. I don’t know about anyone else but it is good for a Drill artist like me, I’m able to hop into the Rap lane and I can do some songs with melodies on them with singers. I’m trying to step out of the Drill thing as well as being in the Drill thing; I don’t want to be producing Drill my whole life.
Talk to me a bit about your start as a fan of music and being around artists from your area like Sneakbo and how that transitioned into you getting in the studio.
From a young kid, I’ve always loved music – I’ve got a very large, music-orientated family; my family just loves music. It’s the kind of family that’s always playing music, I was always hearing different sounds. So from a young age, I’ve always liked the thought of music and then when I went to primary school, I started doing little raps with my friends in the playground. It was nothing serious, just little raps, then when I went on to secondary school we had music class, that’s when I got to record my first ever song, I think that was in year eight. It was just different, everyone used to say to me, “you’re hard.” I didn’t really take it seriously until after I left school – I’m from a place called Angell town so I’d be in my local area playing out and I’d see Sneakbo and other musicians. In my local area, there’s a studio that everyone kind of hangs out in so when I left school, I was hanging out in the studio a lot and it forced me to make music but it was never serious. Then I did ‘We Don’t Dance’ and that’s when it properly went off for me and I realised, “okay, I can actually make this into something like a career.” Then ever since, I’ve stayed in the music lane. Music’s always been in me, I’ve got other family in music as well, I think it’s genetic.
The industry has changed so much since then – did you even think you could get to this level? Because at that time most rappers couldn’t.
Yeah, that’s facts. I didn’t actually see someone from my area because – not to be big headed – but no one from my area’s actually reached the level that I’ve reached. That’s obviously because of how music was at those times so now I’m at this level, it’s a big shock. I’ve kind of pushed the ceiling a bit further and I’m going to forever because I’m nowhere near where I need to be. Even when people tell me how big they think I am and how many songs I have, obviously I appreciate it but in my head, I’ve got so much further to go in my career.
Yeah you haven’t dropped an album yet!
I’ve never dropped an album, I’ve never had my headline show, I’ve never had a tour before, nothing like that at all ever. In my whole career I’ve only been to Wireless to perform, I’ve had bookings but I’ve never had my headline show where everyone at that show is there to see me. There’s still a lot to come.
Take me back to the mixtape, what we can expect and what‘s the vibe of it?
The vibe of it is a mature version of M24. I’m coming in, hitting it from all different angles. I’ve got features on it, like singers. I’ve got Drill songs on there but I’ve also got some Rap songs as well. It’s to show people that I’m going to continue off the year with some different kinds of music, not just Drill. You can get all types of vibes from it as well, that’s why I like it. If you want that cliche, M24 Drill that everybody’s used to, there’s an element of that on there as well. And if you want some Rap stuff, and to hear a sort of different kind of M24, there’s also an element of that on there. It’s a new kind of sound from me that I don’t think a lot of people have heard.
‘Covering My Ears’ with Naughty Boy and WeWantWraiths was a different sound from you, what was the response you got from that as well?
It brought a lot of people that like the melodic sound, more singing, because I have a lot of new people DMing me telling me how much they love that song. That WeWantWraiths song definitely opened up the doors for me. Even though it’s a Drill song, it’s not really a Drill song at the same time. So it’s opened up a lot of doors in a different kind of avenue for me.
This is an extract from the SS23 issue of Viper Magazine. Buy physical and digital copies here.
Photography: EAZY VISUALS
Words: MICAH ROBERTS
Styling: ASHLEIGH STUNNA
Grooming: TAHIYAH ALI
BTS Photography: THANKSRUCCI
Creative Direction: EDDIE CHEABA