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Review: Young T And Bugsey's Mixtape, "Truth Be Told"

Reviews are a pain-free way of combining writing with what I love, in a way that generates interest. So I keep doing them loool.


From Afrobeats, To Hip-Hop, To Pop

UK rap duo Young T and Bugsey follow up their 2020 debut project ‘Plead The Fifth’, with the release of their second mixtape ‘Truth Be Told’.

Young T and Bugsey’s new mixtape ‘Truth Be Told’ is more wide-ranging than it initially appears. The release switches up from Afrobeats, to trappy hip-hop, while tussling with pop chart elements.

It racks up its fair share of musical air miles. The rap twosome head to Jamaica with reggae artist Chronixx for ‘Blessings’ after injecting the release with latin influences on ‘Caliente’, which features a guest spot from British rapper Aitch.

Young T and Bugsey’s low exertion and undemanding approach to their music is practically the group’s third member, because it’s ever present on ‘Truth Be Told’. It enhances the sensual ‘Celly’, and kickstarts hit-and-run banger ‘Hall Of Fame’. However, it isn’t bulletproof.

The pair’s laid-back demeanour makes the project’s more passable offerings sound unchallenging and vacant. The tape’s team of guest artists are often needed to shake up and interrupt the guys’ casual, mellowed disposition.


Squeezing Every Drop

It’s debatable how well ‘Truth Be Told’ will stand out from the multitude of releases Young T and Bugsey’s UK rap peers are gearing up to release this year. The mixtape isn’t spectacular, but it’s super likeable. Together, Young T and Bugsey possess a lot of charm, and the duo spend most of ’Truth Be Told’ squeezing every drop that they can get out of it.

Despite the fact that they spend roughly three-quarters of ‘Truth Be Told’ rapping undauntedly about fine clothes, expensive jewellery and exquisite top-of-the-line cars, Young T and Bugsey generally come off as relatable.

Even as the pair describe lusty, indiscriminate encounters with ample members of the opposite sex, they still impact with a strong approachable, guys-next-door vibration. It’s not that common, certainly not within UK rap.


Haggling Their Way Through

‘Truth Be Told’ contains a rundown of brawny hip-hop tracks that are satisfying to listen to on a pair of decent headphones. Its self-titled intro entitled ‘Truth Be Told’ (produced by Young T himself) and ‘Oh Lordy’ alongside London rapper and singer/songwriter M Huncho both make their mark.

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While ‘Hall Of Fame’ is a little throwaway, it’s more immediate than the rest of the mixtape. It forgoes any real lyrical depth, but it’s fun, and deserves repeat plays.

‘Home Run’ is a polished track. Trickling, ornate piano loops undercut Young T and Bugsey as they leisurely spit about having to haggle their way through their pre-fame lives.

Enlisting the help of musician Chronnix, ’Blessings’ plays out over zingy and elaborate reggae production. Chronnix’s vocal stylings and influence take the lead on it. When the song stops, Young T and Bugsey’s performance is nowhere near as memorable as Chronnix’s. ‘Blessings’ sometimes sounds like it would make more sense on an upcoming Chronnix project - with Young T and Bugsey as the featuring artists. For better or worse, ‘Blessings’ sounds separated from the rest of ‘Truth Be Told’. It’s on a completely different wave, and feels like the beginning of a brand new project.


Sun-Kissed Afroswing

British rapper Unknown T’s opening verse on single ‘Roberto C’ reshuffles the tune’s relaxed Afrobeats. ‘Roberto C’ is one of several tracks on ‘Truth Be Told’ that pushes Young T and Bugsey’s measured, generally capable singing vocals into stronger focus.

Alongside Los Angeles, California rapper and singer/songwriter Blxst, the single ‘Nice’ showcases more casual crooning over sun-kissed Afroswing. Blxst slides seamlessly into the cut’s beach-ready agenda. The mixtape’s mid-section would be improved if ‘Roberto C’ and ‘Nice’ were more distinguishable from each other. They sound as if they’re playing by the exact same rulebook.

‘Tense’ is eclipsed by the previously-released singles, and featured-artist songs which surround it. Nevertheless, the dancefloor-prepped track injects ‘Truth Be Told’ with another dose of easy-going, island vibes via its clean production.

After the showy materialism of ‘Roberto C’ and ‘Big Bidness’ Young T and Bugsey thankfully dig a little deeper for ‘Glitter Ain’t Gold’. The pair use ‘Glitter Ain’t Gold’ to drop sober and semi-weary rap lyrics about the world around them. The guys deliver a run of philosophical and reflective rap wordplay, and make sure to reaffirm their commitment to their families, while also taking time to lament the loss of loved ones. ‘Glitter Ain’t Gold’ is no highlight, but its lyrical substance stands out.


Rollercoaster Ride Of Rap Stardom

‘Truth Be Told’ is home to several tracks that are dangerously chill. After hours R&B/hip-hop highlight ‘Celly’ is one of them. Its serene, trouble-free in-relationship mood is easy to become sucked into.

Over beefy, low-riding hip-hop production, ‘5th Not Atlanta’ is peppered with melodic tricks that hold the track together. It gradually commits to an appealing pop/hip-hop momentum. Young T and Bugsey bounce off each other vocally and lyrically in a way that is infectious.

On ‘Prada Bae’, side by side with UK rapper and singer/songwriter Nafe Smallz, Young T and Bugsey spit lyrics about travelling the world and cavorting with fashion models. The three artists remain on guard as they take listeners on an indulgent four-minute world tour of unlimited luxury upon a slinky, no sweat rap framework.

For the release’s outro however, Young T and Bugsey turn their attentions backward to reflect on their early days, when they were working jobs at a fast food outlet. The outro’s scatty, roomy old-school production steps back in order to make way for alert, yet patient verses from the Nottingham twosome about the rollercoaster ride of rap stardom.

Picks: ‘Home Run’ and ‘Celly’

Verdict: 6******/10


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