A group of friends came together about ten years ago to make music which has African ingredients, but wears a cloak appealing to their UK community. Today, they’re popular as NSG – an abbreviation which has had different interpretations including “Nigeria Slash Ghana”, “Non Stop Grinding”, and the rather queer “Nipple Sucking Gang”.
“We were 13/14 year-olds at the time. Just to show the longevity of the brotherhood. That was a playground joke, but ‘like play like play’, we are here today,” said Kruddz, one of the six-member band, in this interview with DigiMillennials.
Other members of the gang include OGD, Papii Abz, Mojo, Dope and Mxjib. In October 2023, they released their latest sonic album titled ‘Area Boyz’. The album features leading names in the Nigerian-Ghanaian-UK music culture scenes including Sarkodie, Tion Wayne, Nines, Meekz, MHD, Seyi Vibez, ODUMODUBLVCK, Jae5, Steel Banglez, Libianca and Aitch.
“When we had the title, ‘Area Boyz’, we decided ‘this is the story that we want to tell and the theme behind the album.’ We wanted to tell the story of being an area boy and how we look at the world.”
We talk about their trip to Lagos, creating the Area Boyz album and how they are able to connect all their various audiences through their music. This piece has been edited for length and clarity.
“Nipple Sucking Gang”? Why?
As we grew older, we have figured out more to the acronym beyond that. There’s ‘Nigeria Slash Ghana’, ‘Non Stop Grinding’. We didn’t think our playground joke would grow to be this big, but we are here today with NSG being known globally.
As a big group, how do you settle for options and make decisions?
They say two heads are better than one and we have six. In terms of getting to the right decision, we have six different ideas to pull from and then plus our manager. And at the end of the day, it’s a democracy. We all respect each other’s opinions and share the same vision.
Why are you called Area Boyz?
Back home, an area boy is a guy coming from the streets; sometimes hustlers. It has sort of a negative stigma to it too, but we have tried to put a spin on it. Like, no matter where you’re coming from, you can be someone and achieve what you want. That’s the spin we put on it. We are trying to change the narrative area boys have. At the end of the day as well, we are actually all area boys, you know. We are hustlers from the lower class background, but we are doing all that we wished to do.
Where did the idea for Area Boyz the Album come from?
The idea came from us dropping singles and deciding to drop a project for the people. We chose the songs to be on the project and some of them are from like, 5/6 years ago. We put the old and new ones together and that’s how the album came to be.
“We didn’t think our playground joke would grow to be this big, but we are here today with NSG being known globally.
We had to choose the bangers. All our songs are bangers, but we had to read the room to know what songs would fit the times right now. The stories had to be very relative to the times right now.
It features very interesting collaborations. How did those with Seyi Vibez & ODUMODUBLVCK happen?
Because they’re area boys, innit? They relate to what we’re pushing. They are pushing the boundaries of our culture and hustling properly. They’re making the people proud. It’s either people like these guys or not and we like them.
How are you able to connect your audiences across the world?
The reason we can connect to a lot of people is because Afro culture is present in the US, Canada, the UK and obviously back home in Africa. Basically every corner of the world including places like Brazil, Cuba and Spain. The foundation of what we do – which is African culture – is present in every part of the world. Also, even though our lingo is African, the content of our music happens to be very relatable to the people in the UK. We talk about things happening around us in the UK, but in Nigerian and Ghanaian language. Even down to our fashion, we keep repping new generation Africans in the United Kingdom.
The authenticity of everything. We are authentic with our Nigeria/Ghana roots and our UK upbringing too. So everyone can relate.
What’s the plan for Lagos this December?
Detty innit? [Laughs]. We will be live on the 21st to connect with the listeners. There’s nothing sweeter than performing live to your listeners. It’s amplifying what’s happening online and being around in person.
Any Canadian tour plans in 2024?
World tour soon. World tour is coming. We’ve recently just done the Canada tour and it was good. Now the album is out, we’ll definitely be coming back. Hopefully Canada will be on the line up. It most likely will be.
What would fulfilment mean for the group?
That’s deep. When the culture we push is at the forefront of the world’s attention. Not just the music, I mean everything. When everyone thinks being African is the coolest thing to do. I think it’s happening already, and we wish for more of that. Especially when NSG is associated with it. There’s nothing better than elevating or contributing to a culture’s progress.