Meeting at Film & Art School in Islington, Afro-Bashment group NSG initially originated when the members were in year 9 – except member Mojo who ultimately joined them later on. However, they started out as a simple group of friends, mostly hanging out in Hackney, hitting clubs together and enjoying life. “We didn’t start releasing music in the beginning. In December 2013 we had our first ever release”.
According to them, NSG started as a joke originally. “It started as a group chat, the way it started wasn’t serious. We were all on BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) back in the day, and everyone had NSG in their name init. Every time we turned up at the club, we turned up as NSG. Just vibing. When we eventually went to the studio and started recording we got good feedback and that’s how it started”.
Consisting of six members in total, who go by the names of Kruddz, Mxjib, Mojo, OGD, Dope and Papii Abz, a wide array of influences and genres are drawn into their music, ranging from Hip-Hop to Dancehall to Afrobeats.
“Lots of different flavours are in NSG, a lot of sauce. We got the African culture and vibes, we got American influences as well. A lot of characters. The biggest influence is probably the African one though. There’s a lot of artists we listen to because there is so many of us”. Asking about everyone’s individual influences, a great amount of names come up, including Wizkid, Sean Paul, Eugy, Vybz Cartel, and Mungeez to name but a few.
While NSG originally stood for ‘No Sleep Gang’, the group changed the meaning behind it to better represent their ethos right now. “NSG was there before music, which is why it was ‘No Sleep Gang’. It’s explicit, it’s a lifestyle. As soon as we stepped into the music industry, the meaning changed. Because that’s when a different meaning came in, you know. About the next name… it’s grinding season so now it’s ‘Non Stop Grinding’. NSG is just a lifestyle”.
Over the past year, the UK has seen more and more artists in the UK Afrobeats scene and its subgenres Afro-Bashment and Afro-Swing – the overall genre grow with enormous popularity and notable artists such as Not3s, J Hus and Kojo Funds have made their mark in that scene. NSG are slowly but surely becoming key figures within that genre as well, and in the UK music scene in general.
“What makes us stand out? There is six of us! In ‘Yo Darlin’ there are so many different vibes, our music is different. Not entirely different, but still different. The thing with a lot of artists is that they emerge and have a couple sounds and vibes. But we are six people and have a lot of influences and a lot of vibes”.
The song that garnered them enormous recognition and support from major platforms and industry figures in particular was their bespoke major summer dancefloor hit “Yo Darlin” featuring Manchester-based artist Geko. The video alone, which premiered via GRM Daily, accumulated over 12 million views to date.
Looking back on collaborating with Geko, they explain: “Geko is basically the seventh member of us, he is family. He co-signed one of our songs on his Twitter timeline a while back and for ‘Yo Darlin’ we shouted him and got into the studio, sent him the track and he sent back a verse – it was organic”.
Every artist has a different writing and recording procedure, and especially when there are six members involved, it could get rather tricky. This is certainly not the case with NSG though. Thinking about their recording process, they simply say: “Because there is six of us, everyone is just freestyling. Just catching a vibe. If there ain’t a vibe then what’s the point in it. We engineer it and it’s done. We are coming for Jae5”.
Their catchy and uplifting energy is once again noticeable on their new single “Pushing Up” featuring rapper/singer Not3s, which got released just recently. “We were in a session and needed like a chorus, five minutes later this guy walked into the studio. We were actually on his tour last year as well. The tour was sick. He’s a cool person and does good music, so yeah, he went into the booth and dropped the chorus. The video shoot was sick, some of us were drunk so it was a lot of fun. We were vibing and that’s important to come across in a video”.
Undoubtedly, it’s been an exciting journey for NSG so far. “We met Liam Payne. Like we didn’t just meet him on the street. We went to the studio together. Big up Liam Payne always. Another incredible moment was when we were performing in front of thousands of people, and they were singing along to our song. That was mad”.
The journey is, by far, not over yet as they have got many promising plans for 2018. They reveal: “There will be more and more music and being creative and doing continuous work. We have a couple of shows coming up, and a couple exclusives. Lots of vibes!”.
Words by Antonia Künzel