Music Reviews

There’s A New Duo On The Rise | NSFW & The Demo Tapes

Throughout the history of music, there has always been a prominent iconic duo. There was Teena Marie & Rick James, Ike & Tina Turner, Outkast, and Missy Elliott & Timbaland just to name a few. It’s hard to standout in the music industry, especially as a black duo, but recently things have changed substantially. Artists like Chloe & Halle, DVSN, and VanJess are continuing to pave the way that their predecessors began, so that duos and groups of all color can gain the recognition they deserve. What is the end result of all of this? New duos, like New Sounds From Wayback (NSFW).

Starting as friends at Howard University, Nisa (lead vocals) and John Day (producer) quickly realized not only their talent but passion for music and formed the duo NSFW in 2019. Almost a year ago, the duo released their first project ‘Demo Tapes Vol. 1’ which currently has over 2,500 streams via SoundCloud. Now located in different parts of the country, NSFW has never shared a studio space. The creation of their work is an interesting process, sending beats and vocals back in fourth via email shows not only the level of skills they’ve possessed, but also their strong determination.  

After releasing ‘Demo Tapes Vol.1‘, NSFW released several covers on SoundCloud to songs like I Wanna Be Down by Brandy, Blood On Me by Sampha, and Prone by Masego where Masego himself gave the duo props via Instagram comments. 

On April, 22nd, 2020, NSFW released ‘Demo Tapes Vol. 2’ via SoundCloud. The tape has such a diverse sound that it’s hard not to listen to all 7 tracks. The vocals on their first track “Glue” is very smooth and subtle. It is a perfect introduction into the tape, almost a tease, it forces you to try and predict what the rest of the tape will sound like yet the entire project is amazingly unpredictable.  

This is shown immediately in their next track “False Prophets”. The project jumps from a soft emotional piece straight into a intimidating and aggressive track. “False Prophets” resembles the soundtrack of an action movie like 007 & John Wick. Though the song can still invoke emotion, it is bringing a brand new sound, hence New Sounds From Wayback.

Something that really throws the audience off guard, in a positive light, is the third track “No Shame”. Starting off sampling 50 Cent’s 2003 hit “Many Men” off of his Grammy nominated album “Get Rich or Die Tryin’”, the duo shifts from a R&B dominated sound to a mixture of Hip-Hop and R&B. Like stated before, the project is amazingly unpredictable. However, it still maintains consistency and smooth transitioning. The duo taps into the theme of inspirational quotes in music by adding a soundbite about the beauty of artistry. This is a common theme in today’s music industry with artists like SZA, Solange Knowles, and Kendrick Lamar to name a few. 

Diving back into sensual pieces, track four “Tight” invokes not only emotions but self reflection as well. With lines like “If you love me, then put nothing above me” and “if you wanna leave me, then say you don’t need me”, it can either make you think about a past, current, and even a future relationship. Depending on the situation it can make you happy or it can make you sad while reflecting. 

Washington, D.C. obviously has had a small impact on NSFW’s sound. Looking at track five “No Slippin’ (Nina)”, John Day made sure to include some Go-Go sounds in the production of this track. There are multiple genres presented in this track, the most prominent being Rap and Poetry. However, the track switches up in tempo and rhythm so frequently that so many things could be said about it. It’s best to just listen to the song in solitude and draw your own conclusions about the message.

Now, track 6 ,“The Move”, is something that’s completely new to NSFW as a whole. It is the first time we hear consistent vocals from John Day outside of the ad-libs on other tracks. The song is completely Rap/Hip-Hop dominated and it also transitions later into a “screwed” sound. It extrudes lively energy and another New Sound, From Way Back.

Lastly “Collateral”, track 7, slightly dives back into a sensual tone but it holds an energetic tone throughout the duration of the song. Not only is it just as angelic as other tracks, it features a sample from the iconic duo Outkast. NSFW samples “So Fresh, So Clean” from Outkast’s 2002 Grammy Award winning album “Stankonia”. Using the tone “Ain’t nobody fresh as me, I dress so fresh so clean”, was a perfect closing to such an amazing project.

NSFW is a new duo, and with all new artists, exposure takes time, dedication, and patience. PaperTag strives to shine the spotlight on all underground talent in hopes of seeing the flourish in the near future and achieve all goals imaginable. We wish nothing but love, success, and happiness to NSFW and we can’t wait to see what else they have in store. 

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: