2016 was a great year for South Carolina-born emcee Nick Grant. Under the tutelage of Grand Hustle/Culture Republic’s Jason Geter, Grant’s “‘88” mixtape spotlighted him as a potential “savior” of Hip Hop. From his freestyle on Sway in the Morning, to his iconic cypher at the BET Hip Hop Awards, the rap newcomer swiftly climbed the ranks of music popularity with every bar. With no signs of slowing down, Nick Grant has released his debut album, Return of the Cool.
An anomaly in the current climate of rap, Return of the Cool feels like an ode to Hip Hop’s past; filled with the same clever, manipulative wordplay and changing cadences that founded the genre. The influence of Andre 3000, Jay-Z and Nas can arguably be found on every track- as Grant masterfully navigates over textured Hip-Hop and Soul instrumentals. The complete body of work removes him from the scope of a bar heavy “cypher prince” and places him in the stratosphere of Hip Hop’s present.
“’88 was just like me making records based off of- me 100%. Like me just coming in the game and that [rap] being the first thing I had to offer. Just based off Hip Hop principles just rapping and making stuff that I like.” Grant told The TakeOvah. So ROTC is just showing people that you know, I could make hit records to. I can make records for girls, I can make universal records I can make records that appeal to the masses and still be cool while doing it. I’m from the Bad Boy Era where Puffy was dancing around with Mase and Biggie – I grew up on that stuff so – it’s also showing people to not be afraid to dance and have fun again. It’s records like that again.”
An underlying theme of the project is Grant’s disdain for the paramount lack of homage paid to rap legends, by his music colleagues. Pegging popular hits as “one long song” on his previously released track “The Sing Along”, it’s apparent Grant believes he’s the change the radio needs- and he’s unapologetic as he flexes track after track.
“My generation needs a Redd Foxx, a Lena Horne.
Feel like I’m the one to put us on top where we belong”
Boasting features from BJ the Chicago Kid, Ricco Barrino, Miloh Smith and more, Return of the Cool is a cohesive blend of vintage rap and new school flavor; the much-appreciated break you needed from your current playlist.
Stream Return of the Cool by Nick Grant below. Nick Grant’s Return of The Cool is also available on iTunes, Spotify and Tidal.