There were just six days between Young T & Bugsey releasing their debut album and the UK going into its first lockdown in March 2020. But while the Coronavirus Act kept the silky Nottingham rap duo off stages, their songs did the algorithm-boosted rounds on TikTok – most notably the smooth slinking Don’t Rush, which was propelled to internet ubiquity (and eventually the US Billboard charts) by a glow-up challenge started on the app by a bored Hull University student. Compounding the runaway success of a single song into something more concrete isn’t a challenge unique to the TikTok age, but it’s one Young T & Bugsey – AKA Ra’chard Tucker and Doyin Julius – are nonetheless shouldering with their second full-length album, Truth Be Told.
The result is a tussle between rehashing the same formula and testing deeper waters. The formula, for the most part, wins out in a stream of similar-sounding, seductive shag rap. Big Bidness, Nice (which features another TikTok rapper, Blxst), and Hall of Flame are all variations on the same sultry theme as Don’t Rush. The Lil Wayne-aping chorus of Prada Bae (“Real Gs move in silence like bolognese”) feels written for an Instagram caption.
It’s fun, and fine, if a little self-serious. But there are glints of something greater too – like the slick Afrobeat shuffle of Tense, the title track’s gliding trap, and Outro, which sounds like Mobb Deep, were they from Nottingham not New York – that keep you hooked in, and swiping back for more.