10 Questions with Bugzy Malone, The Mancunian Rapper Back with a New Album, ‘The Resurrection’
Bugzy Malone is what you might call a cat with nine lives. And no you clueless lot, we aren’t talking about the 1976 musical featuring custard-shooting splurge guns. We are talking about the Mancunian rapper who has been putting Manny on the map since his musical career began back in 2010.
But how did he make it out of the streets and onto the countries hottest Spotify playlists? We call thanks to his spot on Charlie Sloth’s Fire In The Booth, which led to his unforgettable 2016 feud with fellow grime artist Chip – which basically broke the internet. But that’s all in the past, now it’s all about The Resurrection – Malone’s brand new studio album.
Instead of glamorising his “bad boy” past, The Ressurection all about the present, with Malone noticing that he gets to live his third life better than his first. So we caught up with artist to find out more about the album and life past recovery from his near-fatal accident. It’s now 0161, Manny on 10 online.
1. How does The Resurrection compare to your four previous records?
The Resurrection is in my opinion more honest. As an artist, I’m someone who’s studied a lot of artwork and I feel what makes art better is when there’s more honesty in the artwork. I’m at the stage where my work is honest on a deeper level, so that’s what makes it better. Obviously, I’m getting better at recording and I’m progressing as a person and so there’s more to talk about – but the main factor is the album is more honest.”
2. What was it like making a record in the middle of a global pandemic?
“The pandemic was a strange one for me because in the beginning, when the very first lockdown was kicking in almost to the day, I had a bike accident. And then I was healing and because I’m an entrepreneur and I’m running my own business, I usually live a high-stress lifestyle. So then when I just had to stop and heal, it was relaxing for me because for a minute I didn’t have the stress of running the business and being in the public eye so much. Once I’d healed, I’d been offered some acting work, so it was literally ‘heal’, ‘training for the film’ and then ‘go and do the film’ – which involved being out in the Middle East for two months. So weirdly enough, I actually missed a lot of [the pandemic] and this has been my first experience of actually sitting around with nothing better to do over the past couple of weeks.”
3. And how have you found that?
“I’m a very adaptable person so I was instantly trying to work out what my strategy is for adapting to this situation. There is something to be said for being extroverted or introverted and in some scenarios, I become an introvert and do more studying. In other situations, I get out there and get more practical stuff done, so I’ve just adapted.”
4. When did you start making the record?
I’d made “Welcome to the Hood’” before the accident so I’d started to play with the idea of making an album just before the accident happened. Then the accident happened and instantly it’s quite a deep situation to go through so when you’ve gone through that situation you start looking at the world differently. It changed my outlook and made me more realistic about life and it forced me to be more honest about life. So I was making a lot of the project from a more honest perspective as I was healing. I then decided to push the project back because I was stuck in the Middle East making a film and what started to happen out there was my confidence had kicked back in. I’d been socialising again, I was training and lifting heavy weights again, I was punching hard in the gym again. So all of a sudden, the natural rhythm I was in before the crash happened started to kick in again so I felt like a part of this side of me needed to be in the project as well.”
5. In what ways did your accident last year change your mindset when approaching music/acting?
“It’s a weird one, really, because I had a bad head injury, but what happened is I started to heal back from that. As a youngster, I was a boxer so I wanted to spar again, just to know in my heart that I could still do it. So I sparred three times not long after the crash, I was still limping a bit and I still sparred and I had a headache for two weeks, but I was fine. I realised that what had happened to me was, I had become fearless. I understood that as people we can become superstitious almost and we think we have some control over what happens. So if you’re in a car crash you feel like ‘Oh but I was having a bad day that day and I could feel that something was going to happen’. But when a bad accident happens as it did to me, out of the blue, you understand that ‘Ok, I have no control over what happens or when it happens or if it happens’ and it brings a fearlessness to you. So my approach to music and acting was a new fearlessness, it almost felt like a second chance to do things that I hadn’t done before.”
6. You starred in Guy Ritchie’s The Gentleman in 2019 and returned to set this year with Guy for a forthcoming film – what have been your favourite moments on set?
“I did an audition for “The Gentleman” and afterwards they said Guy would like to meet you in real life. I went and sat down and had a conversation with him and that conversation was a very powerful one – so that was my favourite moment from The Gentleman. This time around, I have to say my favourite moment was the realisation that I was in the Middle East, and I was paid to be there and act and bring whatever it was that I brought to the table. I was well aware that it was lockdown and it was very difficult for a lot of people, so I was very grateful that I had the opportunity to do something productive.”
7. What’s the best piece of feedback Guy Ritchie gave you?
“Guy said to me on set one day that “I don’t intimidate easily”, and I know a lot of actors are nervous no matter how professional, and what level they climb to, there’s a nervousness within them. Personally, I’d say it’s because of my experience in music – being on camera, working with big production sets so I don’t necessarily find it that nerve-wracking as I would have at the beginning of my career. So Guy said that and he’s not really the type to hand out compliments, that was a big bit of feedback to hear that from Guy.”
8. How should everyone first listen to the new album?
“As the artist that is not my choice, a lot of it has been left open to interpretation. There are songs in there that are direct depictions of me and my life and the way it’s been, the way it is and the way I see it going. Then there’s a lot of things that are just open to people’s interpretation and they are free to listen to that however they would like to listen to it.”
9. You love your garms – if you could only wear one brand for the rest of your life, which would it be?
“B.Malone because in my recent video for “Skeletons”, I’m wearing a pair of B.Malone dungarees. They are prototypes that I’ve not made to bring to market, but what I have done is designed a product, worn it, seen its flaws, improved on them and made myself a one-off piece. So that has to be my favourite brand because I can make anything with B.Malone. Outside of that, I’m torn between Louis Vuitton and Dior. I’m not sure Louis Vuitton is beatable, to be honest. It’s classic, it’s a very powerful brand with a powerful message behind the brand. Dior just feels like this new school phenomena. Both of them can go from smart/casual, to luxury to quite sporty, so I feel like I could survive in them.”
10. What’s your favourite track on the record?
“The Resurrection”. Me and my mum hadn’t spoken for about a year before I had the accident. A lot had gone on in our past and it had made everything about as confusing as it could possibly be. There was a lot of pain and sadness attached to all of that. Then I had the accident and I was quite close to death, and I came away from that situation thinking there are things that needed to be said. I said some of those things in “MEN III” and I also said some of those things in “The Resurrection”, but “The Resurrection” was a song of forgiveness. It was the first time that I’d vocalised forgiving my mum and that song is genuinely a voice note to my mum in case I never spoke to her again.
“When you get the types of injuries that I had, you know three weeks after the accident I had a blood clot that nearly killed me and that wasn’t in the memo. The nurses when they told me to go home from the hospital, they didn’t say you’re going to have a blood clot that passes through your heart and might kill you. So you’re kind of in a fragile existence where you understand that anything can happen at any given time. Taking that bit of information seriously, there was some stuff that I needed to get off my chest to my mum and I also hoped from that situation that we’d make friends. So for me, that song is by far my favourite.”
‘The Ressurection’ is available to stream on all major platforms now. See Bugzy Malone on tour here.