M1llionz Steers Clear of the Competition on ‘Provisional Licence’
17 Sep 2021
With his unique flow pattern and lyrical skillset, M1llionz has certainly become a rising star of the UK scene over the past 18 months. After a slew of successful singles, including a top 40 spot with the track, ‘B1llionz‘, the time has now come for the Birmingham rapper to drop his debut mixtape, ‘Provisional Licence’. The project shows exactly why there is so much hype surrounding the artist, as it combines stellar production with relentless flows and great features. After his ‘Mad About Bars’ last year, Kenny Allstar said that ‘2020 might just be the year of M1llionz’. The high levels that have been reached on ‘Provisional Licence’ however show us that the reign of M1llionz has extended into 2021, and will rule for many years to come.
The twelve song project sets a precedent with the opening track, ‘Intro’, as the listener is treated to two different sides of M1llionz, helped out by the production of Jevon and Honeywood Six. The first half of the song sees the 0121 man get introspective over an atmospheric beat led by a sombre guitar riff. On this track, M1llionz raps, ‘I come from poverty, I needed money, Instead of helping they sent me to prison.’ Then, halfway through we see a beat switch, along with a switch in delivery from M1llionz, moving away from the contemplative to a more hubristic tone on the second beat. Here, the artist demonstrates his ability for humour and wit as he raps, ‘Still doing road in the pandemic, No days off, I’m an essential worker’. This track acts as a microcosm for the rest of the album, as M1llionz’s flow, however infectious and unique it may be, runs the risk of becoming monotonous if he is not cut some slack and given risk-taking production. We can see this crop up throughout the tape, from ‘Intro’ to ‘Bando Spot’, which is a rework of 50 Cent’s smash hit, ‘Candy Shop’. Furthermore, there is a rework of two Michael Jackson hits on ‘Mobbin’, and the high refrains which drop in the chorus of ‘Regular Bag’ add a different texture that complements the hook perfectly. The majority of the production is a combination of Jevon and Honeywood Six, who collaborate brilliantly in order to create a project that sounds vibrant and diverse, which has become a rarity since drill music has entered the mainstream.
Having said this, the project would be nothing without M1llionz’ brand of flows and hard hitting bars. M1llionz sets himself apart from the rest of the scene with his signature flow, which allows the artist to cram more syllables into a singular bar and thus create the ability for him to showcase his distinctive vocabulary. We can see this in particular on tracks like ‘Pedestrian’, and ‘Adrenaline’, as the rapper displays his lyrical ability and paints a picture of the trapper lifestyle through his conversational flow. On the chorus of ‘Badnis’, M1llionz raps, ‘Naive to think everyone around me had my best intentions, Whether you like me or not man can’t throw dirt when my name gets mentioned’, showcasing his diverse choice of vocabulary and his complex rhyme patterns. Furthermore, in order to keep these flows fresh and add variation to the tape, M1llionz is able to manipulate them, as well as his vocal performance, which gives tracks more texture and therefore keeps the listener engaged. We can see this in particular on tracks such as ‘Mobbin’, or ‘Bando Spot’, while the more emotional and introspective bars on ‘Jail Brain’ show a different side to M1llionz. Perhaps one of the most exciting moments on the tape is the flow switch at the end of the final verse on ‘Regular Bag’, as the rapper goes off on an almost acapella beat.
It is testament to M1llionz’ ability that is has taken this long to mention any of the features on the tape, but that is not to say that they don’t add anything to the tape. AJ Tracey fits perfectly on the dreamy drill beat of ‘Provisional Licence’, while M1llionz and Headie One going back to back on ‘Air BnB’ is a highlight of the entire project. The other two featured artists, Lotto Ash and Jevon, both bring a more melodic performance on their respective tracks, adding a nice variation that rounds out the tape. Jevon has already delivered one of the albums of the year in 2021 with ‘Fell In Love In Brazil’, and is heavily involved in the production of the whole tape, so it is no surprise that his presence across the project has helped to create something that sounds exciting and engaging.
As a debut mixtape, M1llionz has delivered something that is exciting and feels complete. With the help of great production backed up by a unique and diverse vocal performance from the rapper, ‘Provisional Licence’ delivers in all aspects and shows M1llionz to be one of the most exciting talents our scene has to offer. Furthermore, there are moments on the tape which give us glimpses into how M1llionz can hone his craft and get even better. If this project is anything to go by, it will not be long until the Birmingham rapper achieves this and reaches something closer to his final form, and when this happens, I think we could be looking at someone going to the very top.