by Yuval Shalev
Photo credit: Pomona PR.
Although Bugzy Malone’s self-bestowed title may seem grandiloquent, it becomes clear fairly early into his 2017 EP King of the North why Bugzy, and many grime enthusiasts alike, have warranted such a claim. Bugzy’s stylistic approach to the relatively juvenile genre that is grime provides a necessary fervour and enthusiasm to the grime scene with his explosive 8-track EP.
The almost inimitable gritty vocals he provides, topped off by the strong Mancunian accent and slang, makes for quite a beguiling new take on what hitherto has been quite a London-centric genre of music. Many may have become aware of Bugzy through a feud with notable grime MC ‘Chipmunk’ back in 2015, and he certainly doesn’t avoid bringing back old drama, as well as starting new beefs, in his EP, supposedly going after Stormzy this time ‘round in his fast paced 8th and final track Sniper where he fires plenty of shots indeed. Unlike most, I get my share of drama from grime feuds rather than reality TV, but if I’m being honest, who doesn’t enjoy a bit of conflict?
Though Bugzy may in some cases follow the traditional conventions of grime music - upbeat and high tempo instrumentals, braggadocious rhymes and fervent vocals - he does not shy away from an intermittent laying bare of his emotions, as seen on track 3 of his latest EP entitled Make or Break. This refreshing insight into the mind of Bugzy Malone shows us that he can not only come out of the blocks sprinting as shown in the first two tracks of this EP, but he can also show us a side of Bugzy Malone we haven’t had a glimpse of until now - a Bugzy Malone who has near impeccable world-play, who is imaginative, and who is a great story-teller.
His latest release shows promising signs of intent, which have manifested themselves as eight unique, well-produced and well-written songs, and it certainly suggests that his debut album, whenever it may be released, will be something to look out for. Though his music may not sway the ambivalent fence-sitters on the matter of thinking grime is a genre of value, his effervescent take on grime music is sure to excite any and all grime fans – so much so that they, much like me, are considering attending his gig at Motion in Bristol on the 27th of October.