By Kendra Sells
Artist: Nick Grant
Label: Culture Records
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Nick Grant caught my attention when he dropped his killer freestyle on Sway In The Morning. He then went on to release a collaboration with Killer Mike and Big K.R.I.T in a remix of his song “Royalty” – a teaser to his mixtape 88. Just like any rapper, Grant calls out the players of the game and warns them of his movement onto the scene. Taking heed to all aspects of music business, he’s aware that bars aren’t all that it takes to reach the top. He stunts his confidence in “Royalty” where he chants “give me the crown.” His mixtape is filled with other big names features including BJ the Chicago Kid and Young Dro.
He doesn’t label himself as gangster, conscious, real, etc., just himself. Grant eloquently raps with storytelling and punchlines that depict his life’s experiences and expresses his ideas of relationships and all things relatable. His style could be compared to the likings of J. Cole and even Nas. Recurring elements throughout 88 are of racial tensions, a fatherless home and keeping the youth out of the streets. 88 is an introduction to Grant, so the people can familiarize themselves with his upcoming talent. His tracks are raw and honest. Grant says what he feels and he feels that there’s no need to shame or to tint his stories. He is definitely a game changer and a crucial addition to modern hip‐hop.
The mixtape stands out lyrically, but as far as production goes, 88 could be forgotten. Beats, although appropriate, don’t resonate or punch as hard as his lines ‐ which can hurt in today’s game where production is just as important as lyrical content, familiarity and flow. His utilization of samples also doesn’t help when listening for a developed sound, unique or specific to his own. After all, Grant claims that it takes more than great rhymes to make it these day. 88 is, although, only a mixtape and I’m eager to see the direction he takes musically in his upcoming published works with Culture Records.