The rise of Nottingham UK rap duo Young T & Bugsey felt a long time coming. The hype surrounding the pair has appeared evergreen since they signed with Sony-owned label Black Butter in 2016 at the age of 19. However, last year’s debut mixtape Plead The Fifth sent them into the stratosphere.
A ferociously fun release, Plead The Fifth’s singles ‘Don’t Rush’ and ‘Strike A Pose’ rocketed up the charts, becoming international hits thanks to their infectious energy (and a particular #dontrush TikTok challenge). However, from the opening bars of their second mixtape Truth Be Told, it’s clear this is a graduation of Young T & Bugsey’s sound in almost every department. The tracks are bigger, the hooks more addictive, the breathy flows smoother, the dynamics more pronounced, and amazingly, the sonic territory more diverse.
For those listening attentively, it’s easy to pull apart the mixtape’s influences. Skepta’s glistening nocturnal vibes stalk ‘Truth Be Told’, the clattering keys of Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Humble’ fuel ‘Big Bidness’, M Huncho’s trapwave infests ‘Hall of Flame’, the drowsy vulnerability of D-Block Europe stalks ‘Homerun’, and most crucially, labelmate J Hus’s afro-swing erupts in ‘Tense’.
But the true quality of Truth Be Told isn’t the ground covered, but how these sounds are woven together to make one cohesive record, making it a potent synthesis instead of a playlist.
Alongside other recent releases such as Unknown T’s Adolescence and K-Trap’s Trapo, Truth Be Told shows that the next generation of UK rap is ready to ascend to the top of the scene. A real treat.
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