Truth Be Told

Young T & Bugsey

Truth Be Told

“It’s just been a slow, steady grind,” Young T tells Apple Music. “Stage by stage, we’ve moved up, even if it looks to some like we just picked up a big hit and shot straight to the top. We’ve had to claim our milestones and climb. And we want to make it clear: We’re up there with the best in the UK.” This ambition was evident in Young T & Bugsey’s between-mixtapes, peak-pandemic output. GRADES-produced single “Don’t Rush” was put out while the duo were recording the follow-up to their debut full-length tape, Plead the 5th (itself only released in March 2020), and its spate of viral remixes (including cuts from Busta Rhymes and DaBaby) saw the song re-enter charts across the globe more than a year after its release. With momentum kept up, Truth Be Told arrived at the perfect time. “Bugsey came up with this title,” T explains of their sophomore mixtape. “Our first tape was Plead the 5th; that was the beginning. Now, we’re speaking up, for people that might not have the full picture. It’s time to hear that we’re the truth.”
Across the 15-track project, Young T & Bugsey again call on some of the UK’s standout production talent—P2J, Quincy, 4Play, EY, Nana Rogues—for huge, melody-driven hooks and swinging verses that seesaw between rap, grime, and Afrobeat flows. Topped with sharp, finely tuned verses from repeat collaborators Aitch, M Huncho, and Nafe Smallz, the lifelong friends also tread new ground alongside LA native Blxst (“Nice”) and Jamaican reggae star Chronixx (”Blessings”)—before reminiscing on days spent working shifts together at KFC in Nottingham (“Outro”). “It was music or nothing—we had to get it,” Bugsey says. “There was no plan B. We put all of our chips in and banked on this.” Read on as the duo break down each track on Truth Be Told.
“Truth Be Told” Young T: “I produced this intro. It’s my only production of the tape but still important to start off with it. We’re both still growing, musically and as people. But these songs, we stand by them completely.”
“Big Bidness” Bugsey: “This is one of the first songs made after the lockdown [in 2020] was eased up. And ‘Big Bidness’ is just big business. Exactly what it says on the tin. That’s a major reason that we decided to place it here, after the intro—to keep with the classic Young T & Bugsey feel.”
“Oh Lordy” (feat. M Huncho) Bugsey: “This was our third time working with Huncho, but [our relationship] goes way back—and it started a little weirdly with him. We all met for the first time without his mask on; we had no idea that it was him.”
“Caliente” (feat. Aitch) Bugsey: “We go back with Aitch a few years, too, since [2020 single] ‘Strike a Pose.’ So, even though we had to studio-hop to record this track—there’s an issue with the studio equipment—it was still a fun experience. Everything on the day just felt like, “Fuck it, let’s keep the vibe going and record this track.’ That kind of day. Everyone’s energy was on the same vibe—even if we had to move from south to west. When you actually know and respect the people you’re working with, that always smooths things out.”
“Hall of Fame” Young T: “At this point here, we were looking for a jumpier song and worked up a few really sick options with Quincy. Eventually, we settled on this one because of how we sound on this. Everything about it is really authentic to our style.” Bugsey: “You can be in any setting with this one and just run it. Wherever you play this, it can’t sound off.”
“Home Run” Young T: “This was a song that started out in the early batch for Plead the 5th. We made this back then, and it reflects on that: Home, and so many other things that we’ve had to go through to get here.” Bugsey: “We’re just touching base on home stuff. Some things are unfortunate, and some things are just inevitable in this life. It’s the life that we’ve been given, right? This is the life we chose. That’s my mum with the short prayer at the end.”
“Blessings” (feat. Chronixx) Young T: “This was produced by [UK production group] 4Play—I really rate how they do their thing. They play different instruments and just jam together, get a melody, and build out a crazy vibe that they all rock with. It’s like, somehow, everyone’s skill goes into making that beat. It’s sick how they do it, proper live band stuff.” Bugsey: “We made this song to be a rap thing initially, then realized how much international potential it had. So, we had to reach out to Chronixx, and I have to say, we really, really appreciate how he done his thing. He sent over, literally, three different hooks! The guy even hooked us up with extra melodies—to just scatter around the song, here and there, if we wanted! He really messed with this song and wanted in on the feature. Chronixx is a legendary artist, to all of music, but especially to his people, which makes it more special for us.”
“Tense” Bugsey: “This was made by 4Play as well—we had a few sessions with them and ended up laying down the two songs side by side. We’d do something on that song, then we’d leave that and do this song the next day. We just didn’t wanna force it. I’ve realized a lot of things arrive when you’re not super-duper trying. This is another one of my favorites; I love how T comes in on this song, I love the beat, I love everything. If you like Afrobeats, I feel like this one is for you.”
“Nice” (feat. Blxst) Bugsey: “This was the first song we made once we were allowed back in the studio [in 2020]. We hooked up with P2J once more, and Blxst didn’t come on until way, way after we recorded most of it. We had plans to fly to Jamaica, to connect with Blxst, shoot the video, and maybe record more. Then, I caught COVID and we had to cancel everything. But that’s just how it goes—things are always changing now, and we have to stay prepared for it all. At the end of the year, Blxst had some shows in the UK, and in the end, we still managed to make it work.”
“Roberto C” (feat. Unknown T) Bugsey: “Not to sound brand-obsessed or braggadocious, but with the title, more than anything, we just thought it was a cool name. This came from the first session we had with Unknown T, after he was fresh home. He’d just beat the case…and I’m not sure how to explain it, but he had a different energy. Have you ever met someone where you can tell this person just really wants to get it, like, ‘Fuck everything that’s happened. I’m so focused. I just want to get it?’ That session—the energy was just oozing out.”
“Glitter Ain’t Gold” Bugsey: “This one is my secret favorite. It’s something that we didn’t have to think too hard about—and it’s with P2J again. He’d just had a session jamming to songs with Wizkid, played this track, and told us how he was really messing with it. Right there, we decided to lock in and finish this off. I like the message of this song and the way T comes in.” Young T: “I love the skit that comes in at the end.”
“Celly” Bugsey: “Our sound and fanbase has widened in the last two years, so even though the sound is very universal, anyone—male, female, non-binary—can rock with it. There’s just something about this, I feel, the girls will love. We made this with [British producer and songwriter] Nana Rogues and Joshua Beatz, our engineer, who works really, really hard.”
“5th Not Atlanta” Young T: “We’re from the Five, Nottingham. Not Atlanta—that’s the Six.” Bugsey: “But if you listen closely, the cadence of the flows here has that down-south, ATL feel.”
“Prada Bae” (feat. Nafe Smallz) Bugsey: “Nafe Smallz is, honestly, one of the most talented guys in this thing. He is completely different, supremely talented. You may not know that, because artists that use AutoTune really don’t get enough credit. I’m sure that you can sound amazing on AutoTune if you can’t actually sing. You don’t have to hit the note—you might not even know the note to hit! But you do have to be good with melodies. And Nafe, for me, is one of the best. We have more tunes with him, but we’re just letting this one do the talking for now.”
“Outro” Bugsey: “There’s some crazy bars on this one. If you like rap, then I can’t see how you won’t feel this. Just letting people know we can still rap on this tip. Sometimes, I feel we should do this stuff more.”

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