For many African creatives in the diaspora, the search for a meaningful connection back home could last a lifetime and not many creatives or artistes that fit in this category have been able to establish a firm link back to their roots.
NSG, the afro-bashment group with members boasting of Nigerian and Ghanaians heritage, is one of such rare breeds that is challenging the status quo and pushing the boundaries of music and entertainment, all while highlighting their rich African heritage.
They sit down with The Guardian Life to discuss their origin story, finding a balance among themselves as a group and big plans for the future.
How did it all begin? What brought together a group of guys from East London to do something iconic?
Destiny you know, because its not every day you get 3 Ghanaians and 3 Nigerians, with a similar upbringing you know with the same goal, its only destiny. It all started in secondary school, all those young years. Also living in the same area living in Hackney in east London as you mentioned. Doing things teenagers do together, partying together you know we did a lot of things together and the music brought us together as well, Id say. Growing up, it would be the studio at Kruddz yard where we would link up discussing the stuff we were doing in our young days.
As a group, what has been your biggest collective win?
You know what? Weve had a lot of wins. One that stands out would be coming out for our favourites like Future, Wizkid, and Drake. You know coming out for the guys we grew up listening to or guys we take in heavily collectively, coming out for their show Id say thats a collective win that we can all decide on.
What was the inspiration behind your debut mixtape Roots?
Mixtape aside, culture is what drives us and we feel that it shows through our music. We titled this mixtape Roots because we feel like its about time people start embracing their roots especially with whats going on in the world. You know, go where youre celebrated, its time to embrace our roots. We want to show where our sauce is from, and thats why you see the flags on the artwork the Ghana and Nigeria flag & the UK flag where we all grew up. Our culture, our background, our roots are what makes us, as well as our African nations Nigeria and Ghana.
As a group with diverse members, how do you find common ground in regards to making music?
We all just record on vibes really and truly, its always hard making decisions on what songs to release and what not but we all have a similar taste in music so when the beats are being cooked up or we are selecting beats, well be like, yeah we like this one, we like this one. I feel like the diversity in the group helps. The more the merrier, the better the quality.
Where do you see NSG in 5 years?
I see NSG as a worldwide successful collective you know flying the flag for Africa and flying the flag for the UK just all over the world. I see us literally [owning] the Grammys Im talking the big stages, the Roots mixtape is the start of it. You feel me, so yeah, very sure and by Gods grace, Inshallah, we know that we will get to the stage.
As far as collaborations go, what would be a dream collab for the team?
Dream collab for the mandem, we have a few but Ill name a couple, Burna Boy, Future, Drake, Wizkid, and Young Thug. These are all collabs the guys have mentioned but, trust me we will make bangers with these people as well.
Do you admire the work of any African artistes? If so, who are they?
Yes, bare African artists, even in the UK, we bang out bare Afrobeats like Im not gonna lie especially me & MJ, Id say we bang out Afrobeats like thats my go-to. When Im looking for new songs, Africa is where Im starting, the African music playlists. The artistes Im taking in right now are obviously the Burnas, the Wizkids, the Naira Marleys, but the upcoming ones the ones to look out for, you know Im talking the Bujus, the Omah Lays, the Fireboys, Im talking the Blaqbonez, the Joeboys, trust me the future is bright. So theres a lot of African artists we lookout for even the Ghanian ones as well, we talking the Shatta Wales, the Kwesi Arthurs, the King Promises and Stonebwoy, we take in a lot of African artistes.
Is there a possibility of an NSG headline show in Africa anytime soon?
Most definitely, sooner than later, very very soon. Like we said previously, the mixtape is one part of it being at home and putting on a headline show is another part of it. We need to come home and perform all our songs from Roots. I dont wanna cap it but I wanna say December? When all the COVID stuff is over? Inshallah.
How have you been able to stay connected to your roots in light of the pandemic and the travel ban?
Musically, we have been able to stay connected to home; just speaking to people back home really; constantly munching the African dishes.