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B. Inspired – Bugzy Malone

“This is a story that shows no matter where you come from, you can actually go to the top,” Bugzy Malone tells Apple Music. Few UK MCs embody triumph over adversity like the Mancunian. Across a series of mixtapes and EPs, he’s documented his journey from poverty, tragedy, prison and depression to grime’s premier league with unflinching honesty. His first full album continues to pick through that tale, capturing the aggression and bravado of Manchester’s streets (“Warning”) before delivering stinging truths to an absent father (“Street Life”) and shaping childhood experiences into a portrait of fractured families and homelessness (“Run”). “Vulnerability doesn’t make me any weaker than the next person,” he says. “It shows security in yourself if you can demonstrate it. We all go through it. I think that’s why a lot of people can relate to me.”

Given those past struggles, Bugzy could have been excused for resting on his laurels after the success of 2017’s King of the North. However, B. Inspired is his most ambitious work to date, showcasing pin-sharp wordplay and extending grime’s musical horizons—the string-laden “Run” consciously draws on Moby and The Verve, while the guitar solo in “Drama” was inspired by the Eagles. “I think you owe that to the fans,” he says of the stylistic variety. “You don’t draw them in and say, ‘Come and be a fan of what I’m doing,’ and then get lazy and plateau. You have to push yourself the furthest you can go.”

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