When I first heard ‘Life Is Good’ by Nas, I loved it because it showed growth. He was rapping about his daughter being on Instagram, how he dealt with it and moving on from his divorce. In a world of rap songs being very similar, Nas created a body of work that spoke about the life that he’s living.
Grime as a sound is very energetic. Music is produced and lyrics are sprayed to get the reload. It’s been like that since its creation and I hope that it continues. But there is another side. A side that tells stories about the lives of the artists. The problems they faced and how they are dealing with it. I think of artists like Wiley and Ghetts that told stories through their lyrics. The latest effort from mancunian Bugzy Malone, ‘Facing Time’, made me think of songs like ‘Treddin’ On Thin Ice’ (Wiley, 2004). The title track ‘Facing Time’ tells a story of an artist coming into the game at a level that brings attention. Sometimes, unwarranted. I hear parallels between what both of them are saying. Bugzy describes stepping into a new world that he’s not entirely comfortable with yet. Being thrusted into the limelight when you’re the figurehead for your city must be a weird feeling and that’s what he describes in his bars.
Listening to this EP, you feel like you’re on a long drive with Bugzy. Having the chance to hear his inner thoughts. He has an ability to make songs using lyrics to draw you into his reflective mindset. You hear stories of times in his life that made him the man he is. Songs like ‘Moving’ are motivational. You hear Bugzy rhyme about how his situation has changed from being somewhat of a recluse. Staying in the background as the outside world was becoming more than what he wanted to deal with. But through inspiration from the people that were close to him, he kept it moving. Now he represents his city to the best of his ability. It seems that music is his therapy. Instead of being on the roads where he knows first hand about the pitfalls and traps that lay ahead, he stayed in the studio and created his way into a new life.
His confidence has increased in his music and for good reason. Charting albums, sold out national tours and festival mainstage performances could have made Bugzy a braggadocious MC with arrogant bars. But instead, he simply speaks his truth, but still demonstrates the passion of a good Grime artist. The energy he brings to ‘Late night in the 0161’ got me hyped and demanded a reload.
Bap bap bap bap bap everybody ran / Brick dust in the air like a spray tan / Man jumping about like Rayman / I wore my hat low like Raiden
Songs like ‘We Don’t Care’ and especially ‘MoshPit’ are a hit amongst his fans who also bought loads of his merch. Formulating bars that will undoubtedly get a loud reaction from the crowds at his shows is something that Bugzy does very well. He has come into the game with a plan and there is clear evidence of it working.
‘Facing Time’ has a balance of different types of songs to appease his various supporters. The token girl tune on the project, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ shows that he has respect for the person that has stuck by him during his escapades. His words show appreciation. being in touch with his feelings, he descriptively tells the humble story of his low days where his beauty stood beside him. From paying for cinema tickets to running from the boy dem. Stories of her loyalty drew the song to the conclusion that results in Bugzy changing his way.
I’m coming home. I’m sick of this black Patrone. I’m sick of these dizzy girls. I’m sick of us acting cold.
Another great thing about this EP are the beats. Production in Grime can be stuck in its nostalgic form. But with music from Z-Dot, Nate Prophet and Craggle Beats, the EP sounds current. The different tones support the subject matters well which makes for good music.
For Grime to grow, good songs need to be made. Radio sets and shows are important to the scene, but for the genre to be more widely recognised, songs that people can play over and over again will bring Grime from the underground and a regular sight in the charts. Bugzy has taken the route of making a project filled with songs that are cohesive collectively as well as great singles that will be picked up by radio. When ‘Facing Time’ was released (3rd June 2016) it shot straight to the number 1 spot. Hopefully Bugzy will improve on his previous chart success with ‘Walk With Me’ and become yet another product of Grime on the main stage.
‘Facing Time’ is available to download on iTunes.