Born and raised in Manchester, Bugzy Malone’s youth was hindered by poverty, domestic violence, gang involvement, criminality and a stint in prison.
Yet by managing to transcend his troubled past and difficult upbringing, Bugzy Malone is the embodiment of achievement in the face of adversity.
To date, he has released three Top 10 EPs, his tracks have been streamed 200 million times, and his YouTube channel has exceeded 100 million views.
Now Bugzy Malone has released his debut album ‘B. Inspired’ today on B. Somebody Records.
Listen to Bugzy Malone‘s ‘B. Inspired‘ lead song ‘Run‘, featuring Rag ‘n’ Bone Man on Shoot Music’s New Releases Playlist below.
It’s a brutally honest collection in which Bugzy Malone, the consummate storyteller, strips back his outer bravado to reveal the man behind the surface.
Unafraid to rap about issues which are be too painful to speak about in person, Bugzy Malone’s tales pulsate with raw emotion.
These are immediately relatable narratives: heart-breaking flashbacks to a traumatic childhood viewed from the perspective of an adult, and stories of everyday folk desperately battling against the tide – some swim to a brighter future, while others are submerged by overwhelming odds.
Above all, however, it’s a message of inspiration. If Bugzy Malone can emerge from his background to become one of the nation’s most vital artists, he can also inspire the next generation to fulfil their potential.
“In those moments of feeling beaten up and like life wasn’t even worth it, I’d come out of that situation and think, ‘I’m gonna be somebody when I grow up’,” Bugzy Malone said.
“I’m now in a place where I can speak to a lot of people and my whole ethos is switching on the belief switch in people’s heads.
“If people take inspiration from that then it’s priceless.”
On ‘B. Inspired’ Bugzy Malone show’s that his escape to a better life is a blueprint that others can follow.
Music also offers the King of the North a cathartic escape. As he admits in ‘Submarine’, “Now it’s just me and the mic / I talk to it like I would a psychiatrist.”
On the lead song ‘Run’ finds Bugzy Malone’s rhymes reflecting his own past while providing a warning to today’s youth.
There’s no easy solution “when you’re sinning only to survive” beyond escaping and doing what you can to look after yourself.
Meanwhile, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man’s soulful soaring vocal hook adds an emotional resonance to a track with a crossover potential that contrasts the album’s previous hard-hitters ‘Warning’ and ‘Drama’.
The sense of addressing previously unspoken feelings comes to a compelling peak with ‘Street Life’, which explores Bugzy Malone’s fractured family background: “To be someone’s Dad isn’t the type of job you can finish early and go home / I was gonna write this down and send it to you in the post / But I need the music, I want you to feel this one in your soul.”
The highs and lows of a romantic relationship are explored in ‘Death Do Us Part’ and ‘Heart’, with the former track affirming love and looking for redemption from a woman whose devotion helped Bugzy Malone through poverty, imprisonment and crippling depression.
‘B. Inspired’ also puts the spotlight on the sometimes violent day-to-day existence that some people become overwhelmed by in their battle for survival.
In ‘Ordinary People’ (featuring JP Cooper), Bugzy Malone reflects on his local roots as “a place where no-one expects us to make it” in which “the painkiller is weed and liquor / strong enough to wipe out the whole gang.”
Yet Bugzy Malone is eager to demonstrate that there’s a ray of hope in even the darkest circumstances.
‘Separation’ tells the story of a young man who’s taken under the wing of someone for who violence and dealing is a longstanding way-of-life.
Now, however, one of the two remains in prison while the other has moved onto a better life: “No disrespect but we’re not the same.”
That sense of optimism is exuded in the album’s introduction which sums up Bugzy Malone’s entire outlook.
The setting is bleak – “I’ve been in the darkest places, please believe me you can beat depression / I’ve seen broken people give up hope and then chase the dragon” – but the denouement is pure.
“Anything is possible,” he concludes. “You have to see it and believe it / Even when it seems impossible.”