NSG. It’s a simple yet vast acronym, seeping with potential. “It’s a lifestyle, a movement,” the group say. At first it stood for No Sleep Gang, then Non Stop Grinding. At the moment it means Never Stop Growing but that could change too. As member Kruddz explains, that’s why they refer to the name’s meaning as a lifestyle – it echoes what’s happening to NSG in the present moment.
Past and present names aside, the group reflects the most exciting components of the current UK music scene: a lively diasporic afro bashment sound and a larger-than-life personality, all rolled into one six member group. Comprised of members Kruddz, Mxjib, Mojo, OGD, Dope and Papii Abz, they’ve been bubbling under the crest of producer Jae5 and Mercury Nominated artist J Hus since before either of those acts broke, slowly crafting their sound together.
You’ll likely know them for their track “Yo Darlin’”, a dancefloor ready bop amassing an impressive amount of views and streams. The track also recently caught the attention of Liam Payne, who commissioned them to do a remix of one of his songs (He snapchatted himself listening to “Yo Darlin’”, a group discussion went down, everyone eventually met). Or maybe it’s from “We Dey”, a track Noisey named as one of their favourites of 2016 and described as being “an anthem that’s as melancholic as it is celebratory”. Or if, somehow, you’re an artist or embedded in the scene you’ll remember NSG from “Whine and Kotch (Afrobeats remix) – their debut single in December 2013, which brought the group to immediate controversy and fame within their local scene.
On the one hand, the group had crafted a new sound. On the other, some Londoners of Caribbean descent had something to say about the inclusion of bashment among afrobeat. Either way, the sound stuck and the song made an impact. “We started it. We put it down,” the group explain. “No one was doing this sound back then.” And it’s a true statement: seeing as acts like J Hus and Belly Squad only blew up in the past couple of years, the facts speak for themselves – amongst their scene NSG were one of the pioneers of the Afro Bashment sound you hear today across Spotify and streaming into the streets.
The members of the group (who range in age from twenty to twenty three) are of either Ghanaian or Nigerian descent. Some of them came here at a young age, around eight and ten years old, others were born in the UK. Quite a few have been back too – or “sent back”, as they put it, without naming names – to their home country for a few years. It’s this cross-continent movement and upbringing that’s lead the group so easily to create their fusion of a sound, placing them at the peak of the movement that’s spreading not just across London but the world too.
All of the members came together while studying at Arts & Media School Islington. All of them that is except for Mojo, who they joke is “the one we found and looked after”. In fact they joke a lot. Stories are thrown around about what they were all doing before music – “I actually played for West Ham! I’ve got evidence, pictures!” is one claim that’s thrown around, as we laugh about that being a common story for young men from their area. “Individually we all had a love for music though,” Kruddz explained. “A lot of us love dancing and music”
Soon after they had a designated meeting spot: a studio that had been set-up in OGD and Kruddz’s house (“It’s where the history started”). Though his mother would often be in the house, she preferred them being there than outside on the road and potentially getting into trouble. OGD – the producer behind NSG’s tracks – initially started out writing dubstep before becoming intertwined with the sound of producer Jae5, who is behind most of the biggest tracks from J Hus, eventually leading him to create the sound NSG have become known for.
The group agree that the EP Grown Up marked a turning point in their career, hence the name. “That’s why we named it Grown Up,” Mxjib explains. Across nine tracks – some of which were produced by Jae5 and Troots Music alongside OGD – the group made their mark. To listen to it is to feel blessed with the energy, the soul, the sadness, the beauty of NSG and their music. Since then and the release of “Yo Darlin’”, the group have been working on new music. As well as the Liam Payne remix there’s a track with Not3s, one of 2017’s breakout artists – the rapper behind the unavoidable hit “Addison Lee”.
Called “Pushing Up”, it’s a perfect demonstration of NSG’s sound. One ready for the dance, one with an impactful message to keep moving forward, to grow. Alongside that is “Natural Disaster”, a song about – you guessed it – a natural disaster. Except this one isn’t the environmental kind, it’s centered instead in the world of relationships. A smoke fuelled yet upbeat track, it’s an ode to getting wavey, to searching out all the wrong people but having the best time doing so. “She’s a natural disaster, the girl is bad bad but me like her”
Fresh off stage from Spotify’s sold out Who We Be at Alexandra Palace, NSG drop their highly anticipated collab with Tion Wayne “Options”
Jae5 working his magic once again on production, this laid back anthem connects on a deeper level and delivers once again for NSG, who are building the waviest of catalogues and the numbers to match!
Essentially, NSG are climbing slowly toward their peak. On their own journey but also one that’s closely connected to the afro bashment sound that’s creeping across the globe, the road ahead looks golden. Where do they want to go? “Global domination, baby,” they say. “Right now we’re loading up the artillery. They said no nuclear weapons and we didn’t take that in. We’re loading them up. We’re not looking on a United Kingdom thing, we’re looking on a global thing.” Never Stop Growing indeed.