Mixtape Madness

It goes without saying that UK is bursting with endless talent and creative minds bringing big beats to the masses. At Novation, we’ve teamed up with tastemakers Mixtape Madness for a new series called ‘Behind the Hits’. Celebrating the innovative minds and killer creatives in the UK rap, drill, RNB and emerging scenes, this series takes a look at the producers behind the unique sound influencing hip-hop around the globe and taking over the US and Australia.

Carns Hill

Having produced for several award-winning acts such as Skepta, Krept and Konan, Section Boyz, Blade Brown and 67, Carns Hill is an increasingly recognisable name.

Based out of Brixton, South London, Carns Hill has built a strong reputation within the UK rap scene, often considered as a pioneer of the UK Drill sound after honing his craft and developing his distinct sound. “I went on that journey to find my sound and what was me,” he says, “I always follow that formula, just to not be like everyone else or sound like everyone else, just to have my own.”

Watch Carns Hill in action as he creates beats on Circuit Rhythm and talks us through his musical background and inspirations.

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In the second episode of ‘Behind the Hits’, the focus is on East London music producer, Mazza. Having worked with the likes of Reeko Squeeze, 67, John Wayne, Showkey, 150 and AJ Tracey, Mazza’s distinct instrumentals have stuck out to many UK Rap and Drill fans, especially 67’s banger “Lets Lurk”, which featured Giggs.

Not being one to pigeonhole his sound, Mazza shows his vast range of influences and musical skill, with work ranging from chart hits to more cinematic pieces. Since the age of eight, Mazza had been drawn to the ‘90s era of US Rap, UK Grime, as well as being heavily influenced by his parents’ musical influences, ranging from jazz to reggae and house music.

As Mazza began making his own beats, he started to incorporate the sounds of his youth into his samples to shape his distinct sound. Watch as Mazza talks us through his influences and uses Circuit Rhythm to focus on the process of producing music to bring out spontaneous ideas.

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This week, ‘Behind The Hits’ takes a focus on Finesse Forever’s Gotcha – the South London-based, multi-platinum producer behind Drill’s first official UK Number 1, ‘Body’.

Alongside the likes of Russ Millions & Tion Wayne, Gotcha is responsible for taking Drill to the next level and making it a mainstay in UK mainstream charts. He has collaborations with US rapper Jack Harlow jumping on a remix, and outside of the UK, Gotcha has credits for Australia’s OneFour and New York’s 22gz. He has also been behind two other UK Top Ten entries – ‘Gun Lean’ and ‘Keisha & Becky’.

Growing up in a musically oriented household, Gotcha was surrounded by hip-hop and rap to old school soul classics and lovers rock. Inspired by producers making beats in conventional ways, his influences stemmed from Jahlil Beats, Sykes Beats and contemporaries such as Mazza. In his own productions, he strives to innovate and stay away from chasing trends, always focusing on making music that he loves.

Watch as Gotcha talks about his thoughts on the way UK Drill and Trap is developing, how Circuit Rhythm fits into his creative process, and his key pieces of advice for up-and-coming producers.

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Jester Beats

So far on the series, Drill heavyweights Carns Hill, Mazza, and Gotcha have all taken us through their creative processes and inspirations. Today’s episode puts power producer Jester Beats in the spotlight.

Jester Beats has worked with 410, TPL, CGM and Fumez The Engineer. As well as collaborations with ArrDee, Jester has worked on hits such OFB's ‘Farm All Stars’, ‘6am in Brighton’, ‘Plugged in Freestyle’ with Fumez The Engineer, and co-produced ArrDee's ‘Daily Duppy’.

Jester Beats has always been drawn to music. He started out as a DJ, heavily inspired by Martin Garrix and house music, and moved to making beats at the age of 15. During lockdown, Jester started to take his beat making more seriously, building his Drill sound further as he dove deeper into the genre, drawing inspiration from American artists like Kendrick Lamar and 21 Savage, as well as holding on to the house music influences that got him started.

Watch as Jester talks about the evolution of music, how he uses Circuit Rhythm to stay creative with more hands-on beat making, passing trends and pushing to create beats that stay with you as he develops his trademark sound.

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‘Behind The Hits’ brings exciting and innovative producers in the UK Drill and Grime scene to the forefront, with Circuit Rhythm at the centre of their creative setup. In this week’s episode, genre-hopping producer X10 brings his versatile skills to the table.

Hailing from Cambridge, England, X10’s versatility in producing Drill, Trap, Rap, R&B and more has earned him recognition as one of the UK’s most exciting producer talents today. Despite his young age, X10 has already worked with numerous artists in the UK Drill and Rap scene, working with the likes of Digga D, Unknown T, M1llionz, DigDat, V9, M24 and many more.

Watch as X10 brings us into his creative world, discussing his influences, how he stays creative when producing music with Circuit Rhythm, and his advice for upcoming producers making beats of their own.

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‘Behind The Hits’ has showcased a range of influential talent within the UK Drill and Rap scene, including the likes of Drill pioneer Carns Hill, East London’s double-platinum producer Mazza, and innovative producers Gotcha, Jester, and X10 followed up with introspective episodes focusing on how they got started with beatmaking and how their music has influenced the UK Drill and Rap scene.

This week, we have the final episode of ‘Behind The Hits’, featuring a special guest – none other than S-X.

Born and raised in Wolverhampton, UK, Sam Gumbley, widely known as S-X, is a Grammy-nominated producer, singer, and songwriter. In 2010, S-X released what became one of the biggest Grime tracks of all time – ‘Woooo Riddim’, catapulting S-X to the top of the UK music production scene.

After great success producing for the likes of Childish Gambino, J. Cole, Lil Wayne, Skepta, and the 2019 single ‘Down Like That’ with KSI, Rick Ross and Lil Baby, S-X transitioned into releasing his own music as an artist, quickly gaining momentum with an extremely loyal and fast-growing fanbase. Watch as S-X talks us through his musical history and how he makes killer tracks, time and time again.

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Mixtape Madness: The exclusive sound pack

Through their respective episodes, each featured producer has taken aspiring beatmakers and music fans alike into their creative worlds, giving an insight into their production methods and inspirations.

To pass on that inspiration and celebrate the release of Novation’s sample-based groovebox Circuit Rhythm, the featured producers have put their hands to Circuit Rhythm to create and curate an exclusive Mixtape Madness sound pack for Novation. You’ll be able to download the exclusive sound pack for free from Novation Components, the companion content library for Novation products.

The genre-defining producers featured in the ‘Behind The Hits’ series have created this pack to inspire the next generation of producers. Now you can bring the distinct sounds of chart-topping UK Drill and Grime into their beats and take their music to new creative heights.

Listen to the sound pack demo
Download from Novation Components