New generations of Hip Hop artists receive criticism for watering down rhymes in favor of simple beats and singable hooks. From these broad views, fans of sharp rhymes could feel lost if not for the authentic wordplay genius of a veteran come-up MC named Nick Grant.
First Round Knockout
In 2016, a young Nick Grant released Mixtape 88 from a Walterboro, South Carolina MC who rhymed passionately as his Nas and The Notorious B.I.G. inspirations. A song like Just in Case, where Grant rapped with his frustrations about phony people, saying, “Mind on my money, I’m minding my business. N****z does you dirty, then ask you for forgiveness.” Nick’s wordplay style shines on tracks like Black Sinatra, The Jungle, and Contradiction, where he says, “I’m in the hood like I’m oil changing. Sorry baby, but my exes left my heart tainted.” With a built underground fanbase that earned him a label deal at Epic Records, Nick was on his way to being mentioned in the same conversation as Vince Staples, Chance the Rapper, or J. Cole. Unfortunately, that path wouldn’t go as planned.
Here today, what happened tomorrow?
After releasing a successful mixtape, Nick Grant gained a respectable reputation as an up-and-coming artist whose rhyme skill potential was limitless. However, after the release of 2017’s Return of the Cool, core fans felt something was missing. Grant soon fell into the stereotypical category of another “lyrical miracle” artist who went nowhere. In 2023, when asked on the Breakfast Club what happened to the deal with Epic Records and negotiations with Top Dawg Entertainment, Grant’s response was “Creative differences,” leaving his outcome a mystery.
Back at it, elite status
After losing a buzz, Nick Grant became an example of how time and maturity are authentic recipes for art. His latest release, Sunday Dinner, is more than about Nick Grant, the wordsmith, but also the person. “Sunday Dinner is basically me just growing up in my grandmother’s crib,” Nick said. “My mom and father had addiction issues. In their periods of breaking up, trying to figure it out, I would go back to my grandmother’s house.” The track Dope Fiend’s Theme expresses the heartache of his parent’s struggle, while Worryin Bout a Classic speaks of other family issues he’s experienced while trying to balance a rap career. Heaven, a classic sample from Brown Sugar, displays a fine combination of wizard wordplay storytelling with a dash of bravado that easily glides rhythmically on the ears. Sunday Dinner is an album showcasing an MC who matured into adulthood with more to say.
Nick Grant’s journey is one of an MC who graduated from clever lies to meaningful storytelling songs. Nick is a natural-born talent with elite rhymes, but his personal experiences provide the substance of his songs. He’s a class potential artist who still shows enough promise to compete with J. Cole, Drake, and maybe even Kendrick Lamar.