Africa vs the Caribbean. East London vs. West London. Afro Fusion vs Dancehall and R&B. Both of these groups represent London yet their music is international. So, when I saw Tweets and videos comparing the two and hinting at a clash, I got excited. As I’m of both Nigerian and Jamaican heritage and listen to both groups, I feel I can give a valuable opinion. Who would win?
At first, I didn’t think that it was a competition. I was thinking, “WSTRN would spin NSG out of their Balenciaga’s”. Although I’ve known about NSG for a while, I thought people would be swayed by their steady rise over the last two years and their prolific run climaxing between the release of Options and Trust Issues. I didn’t want people to forget what WSTRN have done however, and the talent that they have.
I thought, “song for song, man for man, genre for genre, NSG can’t compete”. I mean you’ve got Haile on hooks with his wavey style and vocal inflections. You’ve got Louis Rei on verses, showing you that he can really rap. And then, you have Akelle, fresh home, able to add vocals as well. I thought it was a no brainer. Every member has their role and I actually know each member’s name.
However, I wasn’t putting enough respect on NSG’s hustle and I started to think. I had heard about the group years ago at the same time I heard about WSTRN. They featured on J Hus’ 15th Day mixtape and I can play Forget A Hater to this day and it still gasses me. Since then it’s been non-stop grinding.
The group, consisting of Abz, Dope, Kruddz, ODG, MJ and Mojo became known to many due to their comments on Imjustbait’s Instagram page and their viral dance videos, but they have been putting in the work for a while.
Originally, I thought that the depth of their discography would be an issue but I realised that they’ve had bangers for a while. They released Yo Darlin with Manchester artist, Geko in 2017, jumped on the remix of Bedroom Floor with former One Direction member, Liam Payne and had the tune Pushing Up in 2018, with a classic Not3s feature.
This set them up nicely to take over the end of 2018 and 2019 as they then featured on 6:30, with Geko again, released PUTB (an underated banger), Natural Disaster and finished the year with Options. That run is rude!
So, I did more research and found out that these guys have tunes. I started to realise what I like about them. They don’t give a toss. They are who they are. And, they have kept working.
I was watching the music video for No Jamo Full Ghana (a remix to Ninj x Kraze’s Half Jamo Half Ghana) and this showed their attitude perfectly. They take pride in their heritage and have fun. In the video, they are dancing in the cycle lane of a canal. It sounds like something so small but it’s about the energy. A group of black guys enjoying themselves, not involving themselves in any badness and disrupting cyclists on their daily commute. They had something. Fortunately, unlike many other, they were able to turn their buzz into business. They flipped the energy into success and top tens, making them a fixture in the UK scene.
Now, onto WSTRN. They too have been in the scene for five years, since In2 dropped in 2015. I’m sure people remember that song as it had mainstream appeal and peaked at no.4 in the UK charts. It even landed them a deal with Atlantic Records. What a way to pop out!
Despite this, it wasn’t that tune which earned them my respect. It’s their range and consistency that has caused me to hold them in such high regard. They are so versatile. They can do Dancehall, R&B, the wave ting, anything. They have features with North West London rapper, big boy Skrapz the one and only, OGs in the UK music scene, like Chip and Wretch 32 and international artists like Mr Eazi, Tiwa Savage and Alkaline.
They also very much represent West London. When I think of that part of London, I think about fly guys, dope girls and big houses. WSTRN provide you with a similar vibe infused with their own influences, creating a wholesome sound.
I feel as if they have been slept on recently but just take a listen to their latest album WSTRN Season, Vol 2. Medusa, Night & Day and They Don’t Know all sound different yet go off same way. Moreover, Haile and Louis were able to hold it down while Akelle was away, ensuring that WSTRN have remained relevant.
I know in sound clashes, the crowd decide who wins. Therefore, due to recent impact, they would most likely side with NSG. Having said that, if we’re talking about the quality of music, then it’s tight. Ben Ova, Sharna and Vice Versa with One Acen are all bangers. There’s only one way to decide it. Let’s get into the clash.
If/when these guys do clash, these are the tunes that I would want to hear head to head with a mixed crowd of both WSTRN and NSG fans.
Maggie and Stardawg vs P.U.T.B
Best Friend vs Pick Up The Phone
Ben Ova vs Yo Darlin’
Medusa vs OT Bop
In2 vs Options
There’s the clash. Set it up. Or all jump on a riddim together. I tried my best to match up similar songs. There are inevitably songs that I’ve missed so feel free to comment and message me on Instagram with songs that I should have put against each other. Also, hit me up with any other interesting potential clashes. I’ve got my score. Let my know what yours are in the comments.