Nick Grant – Return of the Cool

Wow! It’s been nearly a month since my last post. So much for daily album takes! Life is awesome, but sometimes it makes you do things other than the things you thought you would do. Developing the habit of regular blog posts takes time, it turns out–I’ll start with one post a week. Once the masses demand more content to satiate their voracious appetite for my personal opinion, I might consider increasing the frequency. And if the words on these pages infuriate you, well, you should probably find something else to do on the Internet.

I have to be honest–a title like usually elicits no more than an eye roll. The pastiche album cover does little more to ameliorate my suspicions that this is yet another bad rap debut. Women, wheels, and a wine glass: who would have thought to put those on a rap album cover? Closer scrutiny, however, suggests the clichés of a bygone era: a man in a tuxedo, a muscle car. In an era where I hardly know what cool means anymore, could this be an homage to a better age of music? Not exactly. It is, however, a refreshing effort in the face of monotony in today’s hip-hop scene.

Nick Grant’s flow is certainly a token to the past, with a straight-ahead sixteenth-note delivery that cleanly punctuates end rhyme after end rhyme. This approach comes off as rather slow in the first couple tracks, causing a rather unspectacular opening. His style is persistent, though, in a way that demands respect. The steadily kindling finally catches fire in the third track, “Bouncin’.” The beat allows Mr. Grant to show off his true chops, which he takes up in spades with Drake-worthy punchlines (“Kids slide up on you like pajamas with the feet in them”). 

“Get Up” and “Get Down” are a hot duo as well, surprising this devout album-length listener near the journey’s end. I didn’t really understand why he did this, especially considering that “Get Up” was his lead single. Wait a minute—are albums irrelevant now? That’s a troubling thought… It certainly doesn’t bode well for a rapper whose styles evokes a stylistic integrity that predates the modern Internet of Everything approach to music, where traditional genre lines have all but disappeared, leaving little for traditionalist artists to stand for.

As an overall experience, though, I have to like Nick Grant’s first effort. His large-scale focus can sharpen with subsequent efforts, but he at least sticks with his guns and does well at it. When he says he’s tired of other rappers talking about the same thing, you actually believe him.


Author: Mike Frasier

Musician, Educator, Writer, Entrepreneur.

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