Get 2 Know, King Of The North, Bugzy Malone

SCROLL DOWN FOR FULL ARTICLE

“I’m my mums success. This is what she wanted to do, she wanted to raise a good kid and I’ve made something of myself.” 

On New Year’s Eve every year in a Crumpsall household, a young boy living with his mother who brought him up single-handedly made it a tradition to watch ‘Jool’s Annual Hootenanny’, an engaging distraction from the reality of hardship that they lived in. Little did he know that when he grew up, he was going to appear on that very same stage performing his music on ‘Later …. With Jools Holland’. 

With an absent father, he cleaved to iconic public figures in an endeavour to find a positive surrogate role model. Despite his testing beginnings and moving adolescent journey, a spell of incarceration armoured him with a different horizon and further wisdom, leading him to channel his energies into music and boxing. 

His emotive transition from adolescence to adulthood which shaped his form has now established him as one of the U.K.’s most favourable and acknowledged artists. Labelled the ‘King Of The North’ and champion to the youth particularly in Manchester, this self-made creative recently announced his ‘B Inspired’ U.K. Tour and has made history by being the first grime artist to embark on what will be  the biggest headline tour by any artist of this genre. 

The stimulating artwork for his forthcoming debut album depicting a young boy sat down, holding a pen and paper inscribed ‘B Inspired’ will be released on Friday 17th August 2018. 

‘B Inspired’ is a skilfully crafted 14 track body of work which infuses elements of garage and soul whilst remaining true to its grime foundations. Released on his own label ‘B. Somebody Records’, and ingeniously written, this creative has managed to excavate the beauty out of pain, using eloquently deep wording and sharing his experiences with an authentic sense of meaning. ‘B Inspired’ has surpassed all expectation from what grime is perceived to be. 

With high calibre reviews from prestigious national newspapers, ‘The Guardian’ and ‘The Evening Standard’ in parallel to highly regarded ‘I.D Magazine’, ‘The Voice’  and ‘Noisy’, this artist has set a new trend in direction of today’s U.K grime scene. 

Speaking candidly on future goals, running a record label, addressing vulnerabilities and yes ladies…. his love life. 

 

Bugzy Malone

 

The sun made an appearance outside Kensington’s famed record label, Warner Music. Every time I visit a record label, inevitably, a sense of pride falls over me in relation to how far U.K Urban music has come. I walked through the office and passed all the gold plaques and furnishings until eventually reaching the conference room with a picture perfect view of a typical London skyline. After decorating the table with confetti and party poppers to celebrate his U.K. tour Bugzy entered the room. Humble and down to earth in his demeanour, I wanted to find out more about how a grime artist from Manchester has found himself sitting on the sofa of London’s official base of a leading worldwide record label. 

Brought up in an area where room to pursue musical quest was lacking and crime was easier to fall into, was Aaron Davis, who resided in Crumpsall, an infamous inner city ward within Manchester, notorious for its disturbingly high rates of crime. Music was an outlet that appeared to be nothing more than a means to sharing his thoughts as there were no significant opportunities to industry connections. He tasted crime at 11 years old, by 14, was expelled from school, whilst age 16 saw him do a stretch in prison. 

As it stands, Bugzy Malone has released three Top 10 EP’s, while his YouTube channel has accumulated over a desirable 100 million views, and his music streamed  200 million times I’m intrigued to know what’s next. 

 

Rae: Bugzy, focusing on the growth, you first started making noise on the scene at the ages of 23/24, you’re now 27, and admirably set to start your U.K headline tour ‘B Inspired’ in October. Going through the ages, progress is the only way forward, what’s next for you ? Where do you see yourself at 30 ? 

Bugzy Malone: Every single stage I been through, I planned. When I was young, I remember thinking, if I get a four-year sentence in jail, I’m still young when I get out so I can still be wild…. and then I just went through it like that. I always thought when I’m 25 that’s when I’ll have the nice cars and watches and that. 30 I just thought that’s when I’d have the gaffs, the houses, and I’ve got everything I kind of want, but to be honest, I planned to be a millionaire, I put a certain figure on money that I wanted when I got to 30, right now I’m 3 years early, so right now I’m replanning, refiguring it out. 

Sporting a solid exterior accompanied with a determined mind-set, Bugzy remains unapologetically true to the art form of music. Despite being a grime artist, which initially was an expression commonly derived from hype, he isn’t discouraged to express feelings of depression. “You’re not always feeling aggressive all the time,” he says. “Sometimes you feel sad. Or sometimes you might love a girl. Sometimes you might be happy. You might be angry. These are the new generation of grime tracks.” (Warner Music)

Rae: So you speak very openly about depression and you’ve channelled that along with your thoughts and experiences into your music. What made you do that ? In U.K music there’s a lot of artists being recognised for making music for the sake of having a hit. What made you keep your music on a conscious level and talk about personal issues? Because people can you these things against you. 

Bugzy Malone: They can try their best, but the thing is you shouldn’t be afraid of presenting your own vulnerabilities, the way I put it is, if a lion is being meek and mild and he’s just chilling, he’s not attacking nothing, it doesn’t mean that it won’t rip you to bits and that’s as simple as it is. So I’m not afraid to show vulnerability, do you understand what I’m saying ? I feel as if I’m brave enough to openly speak about it and it’s the same with depression and stuff like that. I feel like it’s a mindset and I feel like doctors are wrong when they put these tags and names on things, but these are just things that materialize from trauma. If you go through something as a kid it’s gonna materialize as something. So I feel like all these things are beatable, you can come out the other side of them, so I speak about them.

Growing up and dealing with emotionally taxing life events left a considerable imprint on Bugzy so much so that sharing his story wasn’t enough. In conjunction with being an artist and running his own record label ‘B Somebody Records’, he is introducing a new project which he is in partnership with Manchester College with, named ‘ B Foundation’ to encourage and help young people deriving from disadvantaged backgrounds complete their English and Maths qualifications.

Rae: Let’s talk about your new debut album ‘B Inspired’. I’m truly not just saying this now because I’m here with you, but I have honestly been left feeling really inspired.  I loved it, and do you know what ? It really touched me because it can mean so many different things to different people. I deeped that, and one thing that I took from it was the fact that you mentioned your mother, because there are many girls/women like me who will be fans of yours that will listen to your album and feel what you’re saying as they have an understanding of how it is to be a single parent and there are many boys/men that will listen equally and find your lyrics relatable. You have an untold amount of fans, with a proportion of them being young people. What would your advice be to young men and women listening to your album who are in the situation you and your mother were once in and maybe tempted to get involved in things they shouldn’t to relieve the pressures of a temporary situation ?

Bugzy Malone: My mum brought me up on legends, and the legends played a part as like role models. It’s like when Muhammad Ali died, it hit me, because I knew his full story, so I kind of latched onto football players, or boxers or actors, things like that. It’s just about positive role models. If a young boy can be surrounded with positive role models, whether it’s people that he knows or the stuff he’s been educated with. By the time that boys 7, he is who he is. So between 7 and 10, everything has to be right and it has to be positive no matter even if he does get into trouble, he’s always got something to come back to, and that’s what I am. I was able to go to jail and get involved in whatever, but luckily my mum put all her energies into me. I’m my mum’s success, this is what she wanted to do, she wanted to raise a good kid and I’ve made something of myself, so yea that’s how I feel about that.

Mid interview, Bugzy and Editor Of Link Up Tv, Wardah Sempa play a game ‘King Of The North’ testing Bugzy on all things Manchester, it was a tie which came down to the crunch question in which Bugzy won, but remaining a gentleman, gave the prize to Wardah. 

Until Bugzy started releasing music, by default I always pictured the film, ‘Bugsy Malone’ and envisaged a young boy who had his town on lock. There are artists who choose names that stick, or just sound the part, whilst others have a rooted theme behind there alias. Being a magnetic character who’s experienced a  cinematic life asks the next question , how did Aaron Davis become Bugzy Malone ?

Rae: Tell me, where did you get your name from ? You’ve been open about your liaisons with criminal institutions since the age of 11, but at 13, you were initially called ‘Bugz’ which later turned into Bugzy Malone, what’s the story behind your name ?

Bugzy Malone: I think the transition was in jail, you got guys from Birmingham, Liverpool, London, wherever, and they would say Bugzy, so that’s where it kinda came from. When I started to do music I thought, if you do music, you gotta have a name, so that just kinda naturally fell into place. I don’t really know how it happened. People just kept saying it…. What … Bugzy Malone (laughs). It just kept coming up. I remember doing a video and I’d not thought of a name. I’d just done a freestyle video and the guy said what’s your name, I looked around at the people I was with and they were like ‘Bugzy Malone, C’mon’. So it just happened. I was like yea sweet, so he put that down.

Rae: But where did ‘Bugz’ come from ?

Bugzy Malone: I don’t know you know, at the time it wasn’t cool. Everyone had sick names like ‘Danger’ and my friend’s called ‘Darkie’ and that’s probably the most gangster name, everyone had sick names, but my one became cool because it was attached to me. When I first got it, it was dead, the deadest name out of everyone (laughs).

Rae: But look at it now…. Let’s talk collaborations, I won’t spoil it for your fans but you have some real unexpected and admirable homegrown features on your album. Looking beyond the U.K, would you cross the waters and do a collaboration with someone from the USA ? A prime example is Drake and his features and relationships with a few artists from the U.K….. Overseas collaboration appears  to be the trend in U.K. music when someone is on an incline.

Bugzy Malone: I think it’s about the attitude you have at the time when it comes to going into a different territory. Like with me, coming from Manchester, when I came to London, all that goes to a side. You can’t pit yourself in a position where you’re like ‘ ahh I’d love to’… do you understand what I’m saying ? It’s about getting in and then becoming respected, then whatever happens, happens. I’d rather somebody target me and think, I respect him or I wanna work with him instead of going to a place looking for that. If I went to London and thought ‘Oh there’s thingy, I’d love to work with him’ then people don’t respect that. You have to come in and kinda kick the door down, then people will respect you and things can happen naturally. So in answer to a whether I’d do a collaboration with an artist overseas, I don’t know, I don’t think like that, I’ve not thought it through.

Rae: So here we are in the offices of Warner Music, what’s the relationship you have with them ?

Bugzy Malone: I’ve got a distribution deal with them, so not a record deal, I’m signed to my own label. I’m writing lyrics and running a record label at the same time and kinda directing music videos, I’ve created s team and an infrastructure, so without them, it wouldn’t run the way it runs.

He’s made reference to Tupac being one of Bugzy’s influences, so I decided to test his knowledge with another game called ‘Name That Song’ . Editor of Link Up TV, Wardah and Bugzy, both Tupac fans, went head to head to win the prize, with Bugzy taking it home. 

His exterior, Mancunian accent, interpersonal skills and swagger have caught the attention of most of the U.K’s female population. ***WARNING*** females sensitive content underneath.

Rae: So you posted on your Instagram story about a girl leaving a note on your car and beyond measure I can’t begin to imagine what your dms look like… On your album, there is a track called ‘Seperation’ in which you mention even though you travel the world, the female you speak of is still the prettiest you’ve seen. So on behalf of most of the women in the U.K, are you a taken man ?

Bugzy Malone: Yea, I’ve been in a relationship from before music and it was on and off, but recently it’s got to a stage where it’s a level playing field, so yea.

Rae:  So girls….. today your heart got broken..

Cinematic visuals have already been released for ‘Drama’ and ‘Run’ ft Rag N Bone Man and today he gave the people what they’ve been asking for in the form of his debut album ‘B Inspired’ which dropped today.