"The mad thing is, we recorded that song two years ago!” laughs the latter half of Nottingham duo Young T & Bugsey. The song he’s talking about is their late-summer smash hit ‘Ay Carumba’ - featuring the recent chart-topping London rapper Fredo - which broke into the top 40 two months ago, and has remained there ever since. “It was our song originally, then Fredo jumped on it in 2017, so everything you hear was in place last year but we were waiting for the right time to release it,” he states.
‘Ay Carumba’ is the pair’s watershed moment: the defining hit that pushed them out into the spotlight and opened up a whole new legion of fans. Young T & Bugsey are becoming known for their infectious songwriting, with plenty of bangers already under their belt. From the infectious hood anthem ‘4x4’ to the club smash ‘Greenlight’, the pair haven’t missed yet. Their aim is to continue diversifying their sound and building a legacy, rather than being known for one or two hit songs.
“We don’t want our music to be a numbers ting,” Young T expands. “I want people to take it in and say, ‘These man make sick music so I’m gonna support them.’ We want to make songs; we’re more than just hits and catchy hooks.”
“I feel like it’s a gamble when you’re just releasing singles to release a heartfelt song, or a sad song,” adds Bugsey. “People might not be able to catch the vibe like they would with a track like ‘En Route’, which is jumpier and more dance orientated.”
The journey to the charts has been a few years in the making for the Nottingham-based duo. The pair met at 15 through a mutual friend and began recording at T’s cousins house alongside other local rappers. They also benefitted from a community centre in the St Ann’s area of their city, which helped kids get creative. “That space helped us a lot to hone our skills - it’s free studio time as well; they had everything we could’ve wanted” Bugsey reflects. “And also there were mentors at the centre too, like role models who helped us, built our character and guided us along the way.”
The community centre also helped them evolve musically. “Most people know us for being catchy, but what we got taught was you need to have the content in your raps, you have to have bars!” T states. “And I think you can hear in our music that we have all of that, as well as the more musical elements, like the guitar riffs on ‘En Route’ for example.”
Having more community spaces to help young people be creative is something both Young T and Bugsey are passionate about: “I feel the country as a whole needs to invest in these spaces more. There could be loads of Young T & Bugseys in Huddersfield or Milton Keynes, y’know what I mean?”
Since transcending their midlands origins, Young T & Bugsey have taken the UK by storm. Racking up millions of views on YouTube and getting support from the likes of Stormzy, who was impressed by their rapping abilities backstage at one of Tim Westwood’s Crib Sessions.
So what’s next for the talented pair? “We’re constantly in the studio, working on new music and we want to release a project where we can tell them our story, our personal experiences” Bugsey reveals. “But we can’t really do that until we really know that the demand is there, so expect plenty more singles in the mean time.”
Young T & Bugsey 'En Route'
Check out some BTS from our Next Wave shoot and look out for a re-stream of Young T & Bugsey's Clash Live performance at Miranda, Ace Hotel.
Words: Mike Wood
Photography: Quavi Reyez
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