Hailing from Nottingham, Young T & Bugsey have earned their place in the UK rap scene since they helped to define its pop-rap sound in the mid-2010s. With street hits in 2016’s ‘No Mickey Mouse Ting’ and follow-up ‘Gangland’, they fused UK grime and US trap music perfectly. Living up to the hype surrounding them after their TikTok-viral hit ‘Don’t Rush’, their second mixtape ‘Truth Be Told’ showcases the duo’s bad-boy suaveness and falls into two sounds: afroswing or americanised trap.
They truly hit their stride with the former. Two songs in, Young T & Bugsey marry their cultures (T is Jamaican and Bugsey Nigerian) to make the ultimate floorfiller with ‘Big Bidness’, a tune you can’t help but two-step to. Here they take on the understated flow of mighty mogul P.Diddy or a Bad Boy Records signee to create an infectious certified banger: “New sweets in a clip, tell ’em lean wid it / I dropped three bills for the Zip, told my G bill it”.
The American influence on the mixtape no bad thing, either, however. Although songs like ‘Roberto C’, featuring London’s Unknown T, could do with tighter verses or some flow changes, it for the most part proves that the UK can often do trap better than its Atlantan originators. A great example of this is ‘Prada Bae’, with features top Luton crooner Nafe Smallz. Taking on the subgenre’s signature autotune and lazy flow like Young Thug, the trio craft an utterly astral tune from the wailing guitars, the tippy-taps of cymbals and their amazing melodies. From the opening line, sung by Young T, you’re enthralled by the overwhelming delight in his voice: “Real Gs move in silence like it’s bolognese / My life ain’t been the same, I’m in my Gucci bag”.
These Nottingham lads proved with ‘Don’t Rush’ that they can make a viral tune, but – if you get over the whole americanised trap thing – ‘Truth Be Told’ is a formidable body of work. It’s amazing to think that even though these two don’t have an album proper out yey, they are reeling in features from known stars and constantly releasing heat, never once sinking beneath their hype. Honestly, Young T & Bugsey are a threat to the world. The truth is: if you’re a rapper, you should beware.
Release date: January 21st
Record Label: Black Butter Records