The Rise of Grime’s King of The North

If you hear the name Aaron Davis it may not mean anything to you, but when you hear the name Bugzy Malone the phrase ‘0161 Manny on the map’ comes to mind. Born and raised in Manchester, Bugzy is one of the few Manchester artists to gain the respect and recognition he deserves from the rest of the UK on the same scale as many London Grime artists do.

His story is the typical rags to riches story whereby he had to really hustle and grind for the success he has today and to change his path in life.

 Bugzy was born in Crumpsall in the North of Manchester and raised by His mother and step-father.  In his early years Bugzy was not in touch with his Father and described his home life with his Mother and Step-father as ‘filled with arguments, money arguments and violence’.  At the age of 14 he had already been expelled from school.

The MC cites himself as a direct product of Manchester’s ghetto. Eventually he got into criminal activities which then led to him being jailed from the age of 16 and released at 17. After all these obstacles and challenges at such a tender age Bugzy still had the ambition to do something better with his life.

After being released from jail Bugzy decided to find something he could focus and put his energy into to distract him from the street life. He put his efforts into boxing and turned a hobby into a passion and began training at Collyhurst and Moston boxing club.

Boxing was a distraction from the street life as he had to put his all into it to be successful. To this day boxing Is still something, the Grime MC has a passion for and has even gone as far as featuring some of his old boxing competition clips in his video for his single ‘moving’ from the 2016 EP ‘Walk with me’.

Bugzy then channelled his talents into music, putting his inner thoughts and worries into songs.  Initially he started off freestyling with his friends over instrumentals for fun. Drawn to the high-speed tempo of Grime music he naturally began to pursue a music career and make a name for himself in the grime genre.

The self-proclaimed ‘King of The North’ has previously opened up about suffering with depression in the past and how letting his feelings out through the medium of music has helped to cope with it. Talking to DJ Semtex he explains that his ‘Lost In Meanwhile City’ mixtape was a metaphor for depression. He puts great emphasis on the fact that by telling his story through the music he can inspire others battling with same issues he was going through.

 After releasing his debut mixtape ‘Swaggaman’ in 2010 Bugzy became a familiar voice throughout the Manchester area. He began doing freestyles for the grime youtube channel KODH and then progressed performing on bigger channels such as Grime daily. He insists he’s ‘one of the hardest workers in this genre’ and he has since proved himself over and over. Since his start in 2010, Bugzy has released five mixtapes, three EP’s and his debut album set to release on 17th August. ‘walk with me’ reached number 8 on the album charts and number 2 on the R&b albums chart.

His latest project King of the North boasts features from artists such as Tom Grennan, Shola Ama, MC Neat, and DJ Luck. It gets better as the track ‘memory lane’ from the same EP features a sample of Oasis Wonderwall which Noel Gallagher actually cleared. Yes, you heard it right, Noel approved of the track and not only  that but Bugzy got to see him perform and revealed that Noel’s son professed to being a fan of his music.

However, being a Northern MC Bugzy has always had to prove himself in the Southern dominated Grime industry. Back in 2015 Bugzy did a fire in the booth freestyle on 1xtra that would be the ignition to a new music beef between him and Chip. In the clip that now boasts 10 million views Bugzy raps: ‘Go tell Chipmunk not to be cheeky/Grime is a road ting, my man’s hopeless/Go make a pop tune’.

This lead for many to believe Bugzy was sending for Chip which then sparked a response from Chip in his song Pepper riddim. The beef carried on all the way until November with the two sending diss records along with videos back and forth that gained the attention many grime fans and fellow artists. However, in December Chip and Bugzy shared a picture on Instagram of the two together seemingly having squashed the beef as they were all smiles in the picture.

 

Bugzy never forgets where his humble beginnings and continues to give back to his community. He helped contribute in the improving of the Collyhurst and Moston boxing club that he used to train in in his boxing days. He cites the boxing gym as one of the places that taught him what professionalism was and hoped to inspire other youths in Manchester to join the sport. Even after becoming such a success and climbing the ladder, he still aims to help those who need to better themselves.

 By Tanisha Johnson