Editors’ Notes As consistent as Young T & Bugsey had stayed along their sharp rise, remaining patient for the right moment to release a full-length debut became an almost equal challenge. “It was something that we had to swallow, and we really got to understand, the difference in dropping [a body of work] now, or maybe back then in 2017,” Bugsey explains to Apple Music. 2016’s breakout tracks “Glistenin’” and “No Mickey Mouse Ting” alerted UK rap to something special, and a steady stream of singles with fine-crafted hooks and broad musical influences has led here: a debut full-length mixtape that draws diverse input from a top layer of producers shaping the sound of UK streets in 2020 and makes good on their duo’s potential. “Once you’re in the game, you’ve got to just keep on delivering in it,” says Bugsey. Strap in as he breaks down the carefully curated project, track by track.

School Trip
“This was produced by GRADES [Daniel Traynor, London producer, songwriter, and DJ], who’s also done ‘Don’t Rush’ for us. In fact, we made those all in the same session. GRADES is super; he’s just proper, man. He’s more in the pop world, but trust me, he does his thing. A lot of these songs on the tape are stretching back from just three months old, and the oldest is probably three years old.”

“We done this one with [London producer] EY in our first session. At SARM [Studios, in London], just chilling. There was no pressure—it was so relaxed, so easy. He plays a couple beats and from that first beat, we're just like, 'Defo save that one!' We went back to the beats we liked and the rest is history. We got the hook first, then laid it.”

“We start the tape with GRADES, EY, and now [London producer] Jae5 on this one. Yeah, it’s not easy! This one was more of us paying homage to Nottingham. If you listen to this song, listen to our verses, we really tried to show our accents, show the Nottingham style. If you listen to T's verse, listen to my verse, the way we're flowing, it's a traditional Notts flow. We showed Jae5 this song 'Bramble 2 R-Block' [by UK rappers Smiley, Tk & Romez], as like a reference, and he was like, ‘Yeah. I completely get it.’”

Don’t Rush (feat. Headie One)
“At first it was meant to be Hardy [Caprio] on this. But the time we wanted to release, it didn't work out with him when we wanted to shoot a video. Our A&R told me, 'Yo, we played Headie the song, he wants to jump on,' and we wanted to leave it as me and T, but Headie’s actually our guy. We know the respect is mutual, so we were like, 'Cool. Give Headie a chance, see what he can do with it.' Two weeks later, we're all just sat down with the verse, it was like: 'Yo. I can't even lie… Banger! Proper banger.' I’d love to do another track with Headie. Our styles are very, very different, but Headie can bounce on this type of thing, innit. I feel like we work well together.”

Throw Me a Text
“Toddla, Toddla, Mr. Toddla! This was like a two-day session. I feel like we done two days with Toddla T [Thomas Bell, Sheffield producer, songwriter, and DJ] and I think we made four, maybe five tracks and some really good hooks. This was one that we all agreed would sound nice on our mixtape and the other ones can come out at a later date. At first, it was just a hook and T's verse, then my verse came a bit later, probably December 2019.”

Stand Up Man
“This came from our first session with [Nigerian British producer] P2J. He's just sick. You can go in the studio with him and he's sick at making stuff on how you feel right now. He'll just capture the vibe, and it makes it easier for you to get across whatever you want on the beat. For this song, we were there with him, just dictating, 'Ooh, do that, do that,' and he was just getting it, you know what I mean? Sometimes, I might say to someone, 'Ah, add a bit more...ah, it needs a bit more pizzazz.' But what does that mean? What does that mean? When I say 'pizzazz,' he knows what that means! P2J is ridiculous.”

More Than Me
“I feel like this might be the oldest one on here. We made this like three years ago with iLL BLU. We knew there had to be something on there that had to be more for the girls; that was the idea behind it. I feel like because we’re singing on it and whatnot, and T's on the hook as well—I feel like it's a different side of Young T & Bugsey. If you can vibe with it, you’ll just vibe with it.”

Bully Beef (feat. Fredo)
“I used to eat bully beef [canned corned beef] and rice—still! I’m Nigerian, and T, he’s Jamaican, but us man grew up in the struggle, both households were yamming that. I think at first we wanted to drop ‘School Trip’ for the single, but because of the type of song this is, we ended up going for it. We've performed it already, in the clubs, like before the song even came out, and it sounds sick in the club. Sounds really, really nice.”

Top Boy (feat. Morrisson)
“We met [with Morrisson] at a festival, I think it was Strawberries & Creem. We’d just finished performing and he was about to go on; his manager came up to us like, ‘Yo. Morrisson’s over there. He wants to meet you.’ I could tell, even though they’re some street man, they were liking what Young T & Bugsey were bringing! Couple months after that, we went to the studio with Lekaa [Beats], he produced this one, and then Morrisson came with like 9, 10, 12 man. Even though I'd never met these man from Adams, it was lit. Everything was so right. Even the studio, it was calm, no pressure to make the song. That's the best kind of session, you just make an organic song. Whether or not it's a crazy banger, you make that song that you all are happy with. The streets will like this one.”

“I think we had to rerecord this one. We made this with Levi [Lennox], he’s on the same management roster as us. Somehow the files got corrupted on the laptop. Some joke ting. It got corrupted and we lost, like, two songs. Two really good songs, and when it happens, the best thing to do is just get back in fast as possible, because the longer you procrastinate and get annoyed about it, it makes the task even more longer. In November [2019] we rerecorded everything and we done the final touches in February [2020]: The final ad-libs and harmonies that was on the old version, we added that. I really, really like this song. I feel like it’s still bouncy, but a tiny bit deeper.”

Plead the 5th
"This is probably the newest song on here. We made this around the end of 2019. T produced this one. I feel like going forward, he’s gonna be a lot more hands-on. The thing is, T's a producer himself, he’s been making music since forever, since school. Since he was, like, 9, 10. We could be in the studio, and a producer's making something, maybe the synth is too high. I'll be like, 'Yo, T, what's that noise there? Everything sounds a bit bugging.' And T will be like, 'Yeah, yeah, the synth.' He'll be like, 'Yo, if you turn on the synth, add a bit more bass...' He's that guy! For you to know how valuable T is, you have to be in the studio.”

Strike a Pose (feat. Aitch)
“Before Aitch became the Aitch he is now, he had already done his verse for ‘Strike a Pose.’ When Toddla said, ‘Oh, what do you think about Aitch?’ I was like, ‘Yo, that would be great. That would make so much sense.’ We really wanted to do that song with Aitch, and the link-up just made sense because everyone involved is not from London. We’re from Nottingham, Aitch from Manchester, and Toddla T from Sheffield—we knew this could be massive.”


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