Remember Where You Came From: Young T & Bugsey

From Nottingham to the BRITs: this is the path of Young T and Bugsey, the exuberant, inspiring duo who have broken every barrier placed at their feet to date, and they’re showing no sign of letting up.

“The year before we weren’t even anywhere near that conversation,” Bugsey reflects on the phone to Clash. “Now we’re one of the highest nominated guys at the BRITs for that year… it made me chuffed!”

2020 and 2021 were unprecedented times for the double act, reaching the stratospheric heights they’d always dreamt of – not only did they receive three nominations but they also performed on the coveted BRITs stage, making a show-stealing appearance alongside Headie One. This was a victory lap, a moment where they could finally soak in all the success and years spent perfecting their craft. The kids growing up in Nottingham had now reached the premiere awards show in British music and were finally getting the recognition they so desperately deserved.

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Chatting amiably with Clash, Young T & Bugsey are fresh from the release of their latest mixtape ‘Truth Be Told’, a project that cements them at the top of the UK music scene, perfectly embracing varying styles, cultures, and sonics. “I just feel like we had to try and cater for more people,” explains Young T. “There’s a wider range of people listening to us now, we had to try and cater to as many people as we can without making the music diluted,” adds Bugsey quickly. While an abundance of projects suffer from the attempted integration of too many sounds and genres, the duo’s meticulous attention to detail prevents that from happening completely. The more laid-back moments with a focus on lyricism – like the nostalgic and reflective ‘Glitter Ain’t Gold’ – transition effortlessly into the more party-ready bangers delicately sprinkled throughout.

The duo spent much of their younger years perfecting their rapping ability, looking up to the likes of J.Cole, “when we were younger in that teenage phase and in that era of music, Cole was up there for us and we really messed with the penmanship.” With the integration of modern rap styles, they then paved their own lane, realising like many modern rappers, that flexing your lyrical muscles isn’t always going to make a great song. It’s cliché but when it comes to music sometimes less truly is more. “You can’t tackle every song tryna do a mad lyrical miracle thing cos not every song needs that,” says Bugsey. “As we’ve got older, we’ve just matured in making music, we pick and choose when to do it but that’s definitely something in our arsenal.”

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Midway through our chat, it’s clear to see Bugsey is the more extroverted member of the group, often talking in detail and passionately while Young T makes for a more reserved and relaxed figure, picking his moments to chime in. Despite this difference in personality, there is no denying the chemistry, friendship, and respect they have for one another. “Having someone there who’s constantly with me and knows where we came from, we both know what we’re doing, it definitely helps,” affirms Young T.

Wading your way through the industry for so many artists is often a harsh learning curve. So many artists have had their careers tarnished by poor decisions in the industry, some self-inflicted and others somewhat avoidable. Having someone with you at all times that you trust your life with who will always have your best interests at hand isn’t something the two of them take for granted. “I might not listen to Tom, Dick, Or Harry because I don’t know them man, they might be trying to make bread off of man. I can’t fully gauge it but with T, I know he’s always looking out for me”.

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Young T & Bugsey aren’t the types of artists to sit on their success and walk around blindly oblivious to some of the issues that they and other artists face in the industry. They understand the imperfections of the industry can be incredibly detrimental to even the most talented artists. “There’s a lot of people in the UK who are super talented but we complain about there not being enough talent here, but you’ve got artists like Kojey Radical, Bree Runway, ourselves. A lot of artists who are really good but when it’s time for the industry to champion UK artists they want to talk about the people who are just the brand names, they don’t want to give it the wider scope.”

Diversity has always been a major issue in the industry here, it’s only up until recently due to the introduction of social media and streaming platforms that hip hop has been allowed a path into the mainstream. 10 years ago, Young T & Bugsey might not have been given a shot. “It hasn’t been around as long as the American industry so the UK infrastructure isn’t up to scratch and I think it’s an illusion that there isn’t enough room for everyone when there is.”

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Something that instantly stands out when talking with Young T & Bugsey is their fun-loving personalities and humbleness. Truly, they’re taking nothing for granted. Coming from Nottingham and working from the ground up helped cultivate the people they’ve become today. Respect for where they’ve come from is crucial to them. “We wouldn’t be here if Nottingham didn’t super support us from the start, that’s what got a lot of people to take us in from the start so it’s only right that we try and help out Nottingham whenever we can.” Young T visits Nottingham “almost every week” and keeping in touch with upcoming artists and creatives back home is something they both take great pride in.

Artists who may not be in an as fortunate position as themselves are something they’re incredibly passionate about, they understand how daunting and difficult it can be to chase this almost impossible dream. “Focus on having fun,” Bugsey says. “Try not to make it too life or death. When you’re putting too much pressure on yourself and you start achieving stuff it can pile up and at the end of the day, you’re only doing it because you love music… so don’t lose sight of that.”

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Words: Chris Saunders

Photography: Dean Martingale

Fashion: Carlotta Constant

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Link to the source article – https://www.clashmusic.com/features/remember-where-you-came-from-young-t-bugsey

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