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Bugzy Malone

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Bugzy Malone
Birth nameAaron Davis
Also known as
  • Bugzy Malone
  • Bugz
Born (1990-12-20) 20 December 1990 (age 28)
Manchester, England
OriginManchester, England
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
Years active2010–present
LabelsIll Gotten Records[1]
Associated actsChip, Stormzy, Tinie Tempah, Charlie Sloth

Aaron Davis[2] (born 20 December 1990), better known by his stage name Bugzy Malone, is an English grime rapper from Manchester, England.[3] Malone has been described as one of the key MCs instigating a "grime revival" moving the UK urban scene away from more commercially oriented music[4] and the first rapper in the grime genre from Manchester to have commercial success in the UK.[5]

Davis is currently one of the most popular grime artists in the UK following the release of his three EPs which have all landed in the UK Albums Chart top 10 with his latest release, King of the North releasing on 14 July 2017 and peaking at No. 4.

Early life

Aaron Davis was born on 20 December 1990 in Crumpsall, Manchester.[6] Being born in a family of "career criminals", Davis grew up in a poverty-stricken household, not meeting his father during his youth[7] and seeing his step father as his role-model until his parents were eventually divorced due to a case of domestic abuse.[8] Davis grew up being influenced by his family members who he says had a criminal "reputation"[6] with numerous family members being involved in criminal activities, including his uncle who Davis witnessed being shot in the face with a shotgun.[9] Davis first began involving himself with criminal activities when he was eleven years old and was eventually expelled from secondary school in year nine when he was fourteen.[5] After being expelled, Davis continued a life of criminal behavior until he was arrested and sent to HMP Stoke Heath at sixteen,[10] missing his GCSE exams.[11]

After leaving prison at seventeen, Davis took up the sport of boxing as a hobby in an attempt to find a career[12] but also to distract himself from the urge to dip back into the life of criminality.[9] Davis still practices boxing as a hobby.[12] During his time taking boxing as a career, Davis moved close to his biological father in Marple, Greater Manchester before the two eventually lost contact. Davis then moved close to Heaton Park when he was twenty.[5]

Davis was inspired to start rapping from the influential "Risky Roadz" DVD series that also inspired the careers of Dizzee Rascal, Wiley and Skepta.[13] Davis began rapping with his friends when they would often congregate or commit crimes.[9] His friends would play instrumentals from their mobile phones which Davis would then freestyle on.[14] Davis received the nickname "Bugz" whilst in a gang when he was 13 years old and it later developed into "Bugzy Malone" when he was serving his prison sentence.[15] After leaving prison, Davis began to take music seriously as a side hobby to his then-growing boxing career.[14]


2010–2015: Career beginnings

Davis released his debut mixtape, titled SwaggaMan in 2010. He began doing freestyles for northern grime YouTube channel KODH TV[16] on their series Spray Out Freestyle.[17] He then did freestyles on popular urban YouTube channels including Grime Daily. In 2011, Davis released his second mixtape Why So Serious, inspired by Batman: The Dark Knight Rises.[18] The lead single from the mixtape "Hip Hop Heavy Metal" was released on 21 September 2011 and the music video currently has 1.3 million views on Youtube.[19] Lost in Meanwhile City, Davis' third mixtape was released in 2012. Writing about the mixtape on his website, Davis said

I called this mixtape "Lost In Meanwhile City" because I stumbled across a film called 'Franklyn' — I felt like I could relate to the dark atmosphere at the time and also some of the featured characters faced similar problems I felt I was faced with i.e family problems, girl problems, law suits, depression. I felt 'Lost In Meanwhile City' was the perfect metaphor for my position in life at that particular time, I felt lost and basically in a world of my own.[20]

The lead single for the project and the second music video created by Davis was released on 23 August 2012.[21] In 2014, Davis announced his fourth mixtape, Journal of an Evil Genius and begun a "mixtape campaign" where he'd release music videos with narratives that would coincide with the singles released from the mixtape, alike a "visual album".[22] The visuals were released in the form of a YouTube video every Monday at 19:00 for six weeks.[23] Speaking about the idea to do a campaign consisting of videos to promote the mixtape, Davis listed Quentin Tarantino as an influence and said "I felt as if I wanted to tell a story loosely based on reality and used the raw emotion of the songs as an excuse to create a mini-horror movie."[22] As of 2017, the videos have 5M+ views combined on Youtube.[24][25][26][27][28][29] The mixtape was released on 10 February 2014. Talking about the mixtape, Davis wrote on his website

I called this mixtape 'The Journal of an Evil Genius' mainly because that is what it is. The songs themselves are written in a journal-like style making this record the one that means the most to me. The "Evil Genius" is an alias I came up with one day in the studio and it just kind of stuck. This project is an Intricate/accurate story about my past all the way back to childhood going right the way up to the present giving it a journal-like feel.[30]

2015–present: Feud with Chip, Walk with Me, Facing Time and King of the North

On 7 September 2014 Davis released a 'Spitfire' freestyle on JDZmedia which went on to get his first million views on YouTube. This gave him more popularity outside Manchester and later earned him a performance on Fire in the Booth with Charlie Sloth on BBC Radio 1Xtra. Davis released his latest Fire in The Booth on 14 March 2015.[31][32] When Davis originally received a phone call from Sloth requesting an appearanced on Radio 1Xtra's Fire in the Booth segment, he thought it was a prank call.[33] Bugzy Malone's Fire in the Booth is currently the most viewed video in the series with eleven million views.[34] In May 2016, 1Xtra released Davis' second Fire in the Booth which currently has six million views.[35] During his Fire in The Booth, Davis dissed fellow grime artist Chip. Chip, two days later, published a tweet on the social media platform, Twitter saying "The name you can ride off... CHIPMUNK!"[36] before replying to his critics including Davis lyrically on the song "Pepper Riddim" which was released on 20 March 2015.[37] This started a grime feud and drew attention to the grime scene.[38][39][40] Several days later on 25 March Davis released "Relegation Riddim". The music video on Youtube featured numerous artists who were included in the feud, including Big Narstie. The video currently has 12M+ plus views making it Davis' most viewed music video.[41] On 3 April 2017 Chip released "The End" which Davis replied to with "The Revival."[42][43] Five months later in September, Chip replied to "The Revival" with six tracks which led to Davis replying twice. This would be the last time Davis replied to Chip who later went on to include two more diss tracks before stopping.[44] In July 2017, Davis released a documentary-style vlog in promotion for his EP King of the North where he directly references the feud, saying

He phoned me saying 'Yo listen, we can do this thing like a, back and forth ting and shine some light on your career'" but you know yourself, I've been grinding at this point for six years. I don't need anybody to shine. Right, so, it was a case of "alright, cool" and it was quite a civilized conversation. He was like "we can do festivals together" and this that and the other and I was like "yeah, I hear that bro, but I kind of already wrote my response."[5]

On 13 June 2015 on BBC Radio 1, DJ MistaJam premiered Malone's first official single "Watch Your Mouth" and the video was released on Malone's YouTube channel the same night. The track went on to be played across UK radio and popular TV networks. Including Capital Xtra, Bang Radio, Kiss 100, Reprezent, Unity Radio, BBC Xtra, Radio 1, Asian Network, Westside FM, MTV Base, Flava TV, Kiss TV and Channel AKA. On 24 July 2015, Malone released his first EP Walk with Me, which entered at number 8 on the UK Albums Chart.[45] Davis also set up his own record label, titled "Ill Gotten Records" in an attempt to assist Manchester based artists.[46]

Davis released Facing Time, his second EP, which went to number 6 on the UK Albums Chart on 16 June 2016.[47] In promotion of the EP, Davis released a trilogy of visuals titled "Section 8(1)" meant to coincide with the subject matter of the EP. On 27 August, released the first "chapter" with the same name as his hit song, "Beauty and the Beast". On 28 August 2016,[48] chapter 2 was released and this time based on the song "Facing Time". On 29 August 2016, the third and final chapter was released, this time on the song "I Suggest". "Section 8(1)" is produced by G. Kuba and Davis himself. In promotion of the EP, Davis also planned a publicity stunt about himself being arrested in an armed robbery.[2]

Davis released his first charting single on 18 May 2017 "Through The Night" with DJ Luck & MC Neat.[49] The song charted at 92, making it Davis' first charting single on the UK singles chart.[50] Davis released his third EP King of the North on 14 July 2017.[51] The album charted at 4 on the UK Album Charts[52] and had three charting singles, "Through the Night", "Memory Lane" and "Bruce Wayne", charting at 92, 74 and 99 respectively.[53] Davis was announced as one of the artists performing at the Manchester Evening News Arena reopening[54] and posted on his personal Twitter account following his performance "I've told them before and i'll tell them again Manchester is the home of the brave..."[55]

A photo of Davis and Chip pictured together at Giggs' birthday party was uploaded to Instagram on 13 December 2017. This led to speculation that their two year long feud was either over or had been faked.[56] Davis explained the photo, stating that he reconciled with Chip and ended their feud at the party.[57]


Musical style

Davis lists his biggest inspiration as Tupac Shakur.[58] The Guardian has called Davis a trendsetter for Manchester's urban music scene, mainly its grime scene where he was the first Manchester grime artist to reach national commercial success.[59] When asked to describe his sound by MTV, Davis called his sound an "Evolution of Grime."[58] Davis' mancunian accent is a trademark of his vocal style[33] which has been described as "deep-from-the-diaphragm".[60]

Davis has been praised for his writing style which has been called "introspective",[60] "confessional",[61] and "unique".[62] Davis' lyrics usually deal with criminality, poverty and emotional suffering.[61] Davis' delivery has been called "clear, powerful and precise",[63] and fast-rapid when he is rapping.[61]


In May 2016, Davis started a partnership with Supply & Demand for a fashion line that would mainly encompass track suits. The line began being sold at retail chain JD Sports[64] and has so far dropped three sets of the Supply & Demand collaboration.[65] Davis' clothing is mainly merchandise that has been formatted into high-end fashion wear. The clothing generally has traits of things that Davis likes, such as the superhero, Batman.[10]

Legal issues

Due to his upbringing, Davis has had several legal issues arise. When Davis was sixteen, he was arrested and sent to HMP Stoke Heath.[5] In January 2015, Davis assaulted a man outside of the Panacea nightclub in alleged self defense.[66]


Studio albums

Title Album details Peak chart positions
B. Inspired 6 19

Extended plays

List of extended plays, with selected chart positions
Title Extended play details Peak chart positions Certifications
Walk with Me
  • Released: 24 July 2015
  • Format: CD, digital download
8 2
Facing Time
  • Released: 3 June 2016
  • Format: CD, digital download
King of the North[69]
  • Released: 14 July 2017
  • Format: CD, digital download
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


List of non-commercial mixtapes
Title Album details
  • Released: 2010
  • Format: Digital download
Why So Serious
  • Released: 2011
  • Format: Digital download
Lost in MeanWhile City
  • Released: 2012
  • Format: Digital download
The Journal of an Evil Genius
  • Released: 2014
  • Format: Digital download
  • Released: January 2015
  • Format: Digital download


As lead artist

Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
"Relegation Riddim"[70] 2015 Non-album singles
"Zombie Riddim"[71]
"Bronson"[73] 2016
"Beauty and the Beast" Facing Time
"Mad"[74] Non-album single
"Aggy Wid It"[75] 2017 King of the North
"And What"[76] 2018 Non-album singles
"Clash of the Titans"[77]
"Warning"[78] 97 B. Inspired
(featuring Rag'n'Bone Man)
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

As featured artist

List of featured singles, with selected chart positions and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Album
"Who Am I?"[80]
(Kojo Funds featuring Bugzy Malone)
2018 69 Golden Boy

Other charted/certified songs

List of other charted and/or certified songs, with selected chart positions and certifications
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
"M.E.N" 2015 Walk with Me
"Bruce Wayne" 2017 99 King of the North
"Memory Lane"
(featuring Tom Grennan)
"Through the Night"
(featuring DJ Luck & MC Neat)
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


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