Locals: Hip-hop band G. Finesse and the N.S. to celebrate debut album at Skully’s

  • Photo by Meghan Ralston
By Columbus Alive
From the March 28, 2013 edition

For the hip-hop band G. Finesse and the N.S., debut album N.S.E.P. has been a long time coming — five years since they formed and a year after its original release date.

“Mostly, I needed songs I felt like were singles,” frontman Tony “G. Finesse” Haslett explained. “Usually for me, I’m all about lyrics and stuff… It was like, let me get something that people probably going to want to dance to.”

So in addition to the band’s funky blend of rock, reggae, jazz and more, they added 808-infused bangers like “Real S---” and “Ain’t Pressed.” The N.S. has covered a lot of ground, and it’s all on display on the 11-track N.S.E.P.

“This is a conglomeration of everything we’ve done,” guitarist Brian Harrington said.

The friendships behind the N.S. date back a decade to when Haslett, Harrington and singer Sara Dzwonczyk were classmates at Fort Hayes. But Haslett didn’t recruit his buddies to back up his rapping until 2008, when he moved in with members of MojoFlo and saw the benefits of a live band. Harrington’s Capital classmate Ben Johnson joined on bass, firming up the core of a collective whose loose membership would earn the name Neighborhood Selection — N.S. for short.

They caught a break in 2010 when respected rockers The Floorwalkers recommended G. Finesse to take over their longstanding Wednesday residency at campus hangout Ruby Tuesday, a gig that eventually migrated to Scarlet & Grey.

“That was a jumpstarter,” Haslett said. “That’s how we got good.”

At one point the N.S. was playing at least three shows per week, but lately they’ve been focused on recording, including some forays into synthesized studio productions. A free mixtape of that stuff entitled Ear Drugs is coming in May.

“That’s the more street s---. That’s more what cats from the hood where I grew up would understand,” Haslett said. “That’s why I did it for free.”

Saturday, they’ll celebrate N.S.E.P. at Skully’s with an appropriately wide assortment of talent, including openers ranging from rap (Nova, Hafrican) to metal (Lo-Pan) to funky soul (MojoFlo) and an N.S. lineup of at least nine players. For once, the adage about “something for everyone” rings true.