We should all be very familiar with the names Afro B and Young T & Bugsey by now, they are stars who have proved they know what they’re doing.
But what we wouldn’t necessarily expect is for the impact that they have to have touched the global masses yet, but they have. The timing is coincidental but the foundational reason as to why they have both achieved the success is the same – they make authentic good music. Afro B‘s irrefutable banger ‘Drogba( Joanna)’ has just gone gold in the US and that is a huge milestone. At the same time, Young T & Bugsey have been doing it globally reaching several top 10 charts in the US as well as reaching number 1 in the iTunes charts in various countries such as Anguilla and even hitting number 3 in France.
As mentioned the reasons for the success are a little different with Afro B having steadily put in the groundwork to reach gold status. For reference going gold means 500,000 units have been sold. A unit is considered one digital or physical sale (e.g purchased on iTunes) or 1500 audio or video on demand streams (e.g Spotify & YouTube). So if you think streaming just bumped up his numbers to make that 500,000 easily achievable think again. The reason Afro B has been able to touch this incredible achievement as a UK act is that he has gone out to the US numerous times and performed there. Slowly but surely building up a fanbase as well as some impressive artist co-signs leading to him breaking the US without having to force it or changing anything about his sound.
Young T & Bugsey have equally not compromised themselves to get their success, but they didn’t achieve it through the same live performance led route. They released their banger ‘Don’t Rush’ back in November of 2019 to a great reception in the UK but it didn’t really travel beyond that. It felt like a track that could do well over the summer abroad but with summer being a while away it looked set to only be acknowledged in the UK. Then corona and lockdown hit and the challenges began. One of the biggest being the Don’t Rush challenge which of course had the song central to it. The challenge was viral and has had global impact hence the surge in popularity for the track despite the duo not being able to do any international promo for it.
The thing that ties the tracks together for breaking the international markets isn’t anything complex though when you actually look at it. Yes, there were some favourable circumstances that sped things up for Young T & Bugsey, but the only reason it stuck and trended is that the track is good. So after all the years where artists from the UK have tried and had varying levels of success and failure at breaking the US there is a clear lesson to be learned. Good music outweighs everything else, and artists make the best music when they stay authentic to themselves in the way that Afro B and Young T & Bugsey have done with their tracks. So there should be no more reaches to bridge the gap, no forced adoption of their styles or lingo, and instead just more of artists trusting in who they are and expressing it in the way they know best.