An interpretation of Bugzy Malone & his latest release, 'M.E.N 2'
The B.Inspired giant, Bugzy Malone returns to us in the form of a follow up: ‘M.E.N 2’. 3rd trending on YouTube and receiving over 1.1m views in 2 days; this record is an extraordinary return for Manchester’s rapper, and another valuable insight into this exceptional artist.
We are not short of introspective raps from Bugzy, yet every time he releases one, it’s an injection of liquefied, musical euphoria into the bloodstream of his audience. After his former releases of B.Inspired and ‘Run’ (with Rag‘n’Bone Man), this is the first we’ve heard from him in a while. Directed by Tadas, we are seemingly introduced to the Bugzy’s narrative at this current time, and the mood of the track – dark nights, empty roads, lonesomeness, silence; time and space to think. The King of the North fades into view under a sea of bright stars, beaming from a Rolls Royce. He proceeds to lay one verse that covers the entirety of the record. The visuals, very similar to ‘M.E.N’, project Bugzy driving around in what we may translate as a state of relaxation and contemplation, having educated discussions with himself over his actions and future movements - carefully planning. Bugzy keeps his frequent use of clean, dark, ‘real’ shots as we switch locations – all of which have him rapping centre stage. Produced by Z Dot, the beat is also a familiar sound to what we hear Bugzy on – cold, slow, calm and almost dream-like. These combinations, along with his lyrics, certainly put his records into a field of meaning, passion, and feeling of inspiration. There are multiple stand-out bars on the track, the first that jumps out is: “…my accountant said, I can make a million and not make a track this year”. This is a take away for everyone, not just artists, though especially those in music. Music is usually a love-type of career, yet often, the revenue behind it doesn’t run parallel with the work effort. Here we can learn some lessons. Firstly, don’t focus on one thing. If your music pops; invest in an apartment to rent out; put a grand into car boot reselling; link for brand partnerships; create innovative merch. Have one main path, and 3 side hustles. Music may either, not go your way in the future, or even becoming completely free (streaming wise), having reassurance that you’ll forever be good is what matters – Bugzy seems to have achieved this. Secondly, all of us need a steady stream of finance and supportive structure – if you want to make music but it’s not paying your way, make sure you have that 9-5, e-commerce business, sneaker flip, teaching abroad etc, that does give you a salary. Earn, and inject those finances into your real passion.
We also hear Bugzy touch on pain, anxiety and worries. This may come from being slightly philosophical, or from what fame brings to a person – and certainly as he raps “I feel detached from reality, now I'm on a footballer's salary”. Yet, still this ground him as a human being who feels the same emotions as anyone else. This notion of philosophy in the Manny rappers lyrics is present throughout the whole of this track, as he starts on almost an introduction to where he is at the moment – “…man tryna take my spot, when I'm sitting at home with writer's block”. This moves into his past actions, relations and experiences – “But my heart still beats when I see a police van”. This jumps back into his life at the moment as he draws contrast of the good and bad of being successful – “Thinking about before it all went bad…” (the familiarity and contrast in this bar from part 1’s is sick also). Finally, he transitions into an almost open letter to a relationship – “When the love turned into a war and now I'm gonna buy you a house so you know you're secure”.
A last lyric to note is: “Emcees all fighting for relevance. But I'm on the next level of eloquence”. Strictly going by an outside view of this man, he embodies sophistication, confidence, intelligence, calculated calmness, and accurate executions. Yet, seeking knowledge in his raps and thoughts we also see he is compassionate, loyal, loving, honest and authentic. He states, “Can’t think of an MC in my category…”, and honestly there isn’t. To merit all of the boxes Bugzy ticks, there isn’t another who does the same. Granted, there an abundance of excellent artists that elevate themselves above just the music: Stormzy of course, Skepta, Akala, G Frsh, and Lowkey. Yet still, none tick those boxes the same way Bugzy does. The rap star somehow still feels relatable, like that guy in your neighbourhood spitting game; genuinely inspirational; humble even with all boasts and materialism around him; one with wisdom greater than his young age; and tendencies that we can all translate into our own lives. As his Game of Thrones/King of the North comparisons go, he is not just one. He produces John Snow’s respected nature; Daenerys’ ubiquitous power; Ayra’s combative skill; Tyrion’s intellect and calculatedness; and Cersei’s determination.
To finish, we see glitchy text reading: “Album coming 20..”. Certainly, an album is on the foreseeable books but does this ‘20’ mean a year or day date. Leaving the last two numbers as a mystery gives no indication to when we’d receive the album if it describes a year – shit, 2099 is a long way away. But surely this isn’t the case. If the ‘20’ describes a date, then we could even expect a new project by May 20th.