It’s M, M, M, M To The B: The Grimy Story Behind One Of The Biggest Hits On TikTok
If you, or a child or friend, is on TikTok, you’ve undeniably heard the following line:
“We all know
the best MC
is M to the B
It’s M to the B
It’s M M M M M to the B
M to the B, M to the B
Usually though, that’s ALL you hear of the infamous tune on TikTok, because, well, TikToks are usually only 15 seconds long.
Also, because it was popularized by a group of cute girls — none of whom actually created the tune — who were just lip synching to the hook of the track and making cartoonish faces for that 15 second hook. Because it’s not really something yet until rich, attractive people do it. At least online.
The most famous of these was Bella Poarch, whose big, anime girl eyes and blemish-free face had exactly the sexy manga character quality to match the poppy nature of the song, and as a consequence she got millions of views and became something of a minor pop star herself, with a little hit called “Build A Bitch” (which has a really meta and strangely surreal video beginning with her disembodied head — an odd parallel to her appearance in her TikTok video.)
But I digress.
The song — the whole, two-and-a-half minute tune — actually has a far more interesting history.
Originally released in December 2016, Millie B’s “Soph Aspin Send” (a.k.a. “M to the B”) was one of the tail-end “hits” of the Blackpool grime movement of the time, which itself was an offshoot of London grime, which had been around for a while prior but began to ooze its influence into the smaller town of Blackpool a few years later.
The Blackpool grime scene, which rose up in that lower-scale England city, and predominantly concerned lower income amateur rappers ripping on each other, or, in their parliance “sending” to each other, enjoyed its heyday from 2015-2017, as videos of the rappers began to go viral worldwide. Millie B, born Millie Bracewell, was one of the late era stars of the scene, following in the wake of the much bigger Afghan Dan and Soph Aspin, and the undisputed biggest star of Blackpool grime, the foul-mouthed 12-year-old Little T, whose video “Road Rage” became the massive viral hit to take Blackpool global.
So, what made Blackpool so different than any other rap scene where people are always popping off on each other?
Well, one of the biggest twists was that most of the biggest rappers were pre-teens and early teens, usually only 12 or 13, which made it all the more perverse, strange, and actually kind of hilarious. The other twist was that the insults were actually really vile and depraved — not your usual “I’m better than you” stuff, but more like, “I’m going to rape your mom and beat your little sister” kind of stuff. Which, coming from a group of 12 and 13 year olds who all look like they’re about to line up with Oliver to ask for more soup, was a little off-putting. Other odd details about it were that it had incredibly low budget and appropriately grimy videos from a place called BG Media with amateurish video work from a ubiquitous director named Jack Wilkinson. In addition, the videos usually featured the 12 and 13 year old rappers hanging out with a bunch of much older dicey looking folks, usually dudes with bad mustaches. So essentially, it was what it was like for us Gen X latchkey kids growing up in the ’80s.
The first one to become notorious was a 12-year-old named Little T, who liked to rap about killing people and having sex with their moms. So, you know, Disney Channel stuff. Little T also may or may not have influenced the haircut that pretty much every boy in junior high now has — a perm on top and shaved on the side. In Blackpool and around England a few years back, every pre-teen and teenager was emulating Little T’s perm and shave look, and it was dubbed the “Meet Me At McDonald’s Haircut.” (Seriously. I can’t make this crap up. Ok, maybe I could, yeah, I definitely could, but in this case, I’m not. lol)
He was quickly joined in notoriety by Soph Aspin, a girl not much older, who would likewise rap about other girls being skanks, getting VD and her kicking their asses. Actually, Soph was on the scene before Little T, and some of Little T’s first raps were sending out to her, but the rocket fuel of “Road Rage” quickly pushed him past her in terms of fame and began shining a spotlight on the whole scene, allowing grown adults across the world to leave enlightened comments on their videos, like “I hope you get cancer and die.” Because, ya know, humanity.
As for Little T hitting it big even though Soph had been there first? Believe it or not, he wasn’t gracious about it. In fact, he rubbed it in with her. Oh, Little T, didn’t your parents and coaches teach you good sportsmanship?
But soon, into the fray came another young teen with a filthy mouth, Millie B, whose infamous first send to Soph Aspin, best known now as “M to the B” was pretty much a grime masterpiece.
In all honesty, in my humble opinion, “Soph Aspin Send” is the best pop tune to come from the Blackpool grime scene. It’s pretty much stereotypically brilliant Blackpool Grime, from its foul lyrics to its working class fashions to its nods to such banal things as KFC and convenience marts. But it’s irresistibly hooky, and it’s also got an incredibly infectious beat. And in its own way, it’s really kind of genius.
Sadly, the Blackpool grime movement didn’t last much longer than 2017 or so, and all of the Blackpool grime rappers pretty much faded after that. Little T continued on, and continues on, as a rapper, but a lot of the others have faded. Aspin is sort of a singer, sort of a model. You know, like many other girls on Instagram. Bracewell, a.k.a. Millie B, sort of went down the same path, ended up having a kid, and kinda fell into the Where Are They Now file, taking care of her daughter and selling Avon.
Little did she, or any of the Blackpool Grime rappers, know that four years later, she, or rather, her song, would become TikTok famous for being lip synched by a bunch of amateur models and “influencers.”
Ironic, since people like Millie B and her Grime compatriots were not only the antithesis to the pretty boys and girls of social media, but would’ve wanted to kick their candy asses.
Still, regardless of the messengers, the former Blackpool grimers are happy their message has been heard again, and their scene is being rediscovered.
Well, almost all of them are happy. It is Blackpool grime, after all. You gotta have a beef.
The subject of the song, Soph Aspin, responded to the buzz on her own TikTok page, saying, “Can someone please tell all these Americans what’s going on? They’re doing all this, ‘M to the B, M to the B’ and they’re following a B, it’s not fucking about a B. It’s about me!”
And as for Millie Bracewell, a.k.a. Millie B?
Well, she seems to be rather chuffed about it all. Her social media shows her glowing up from spring of 2020 to present, and even showed her singing at a concert recently. So things are looking up for her, and her posts reflect it.
As she posted at the end of 2021, “This year has been so crazy. Started off really depressed by I finally decided to work on myself and couldn’t be happier!”
And this is one of the strangest things about the internet and its resonance — things never truly die. Sometimes that’s a curse, as when someone’s crude, crass, unenlightened past posts come back to haunt them.
But sometimes, just sometimes, it’s pretty cool, as when someone’s crude, crass, unenlightened rap songs come back to be lip-synched by attractive women.
Hey, it’s not exactly the end of a fairy tale, but it does seem to be a happy ending for Millie B.