We already knew Nick Grant was a sick lyricist. Then he arrived at NPR headquarters with a mild case of the flu and quickly demonstrated why the title of his debut — Return of the Cool — should be taken quite literally.
Hailing from a region where rap’s young guns and lil innovators tend to defy tradition, the South Carolina-by-way-of-Atlanta native proves being a purist is not just for the old heads.
Being cut from a vintage cloth has kept him in good company. He groomed himself on high school freestyle battles before working his way up to become the first signee to Culture Republic, the new partnership started by three of the most proven executives in the game, Jason Geter (T.I., Grand Hustle), Chaka Zulu (Ludacris, Disturbing Tha Peace) and Bernard Parks (Goodie Mob, Organized Noize).
He’s a sly reminder that, contrary to popular opinion, the South still has a mouthful to say — and it doesn’t always have to be yelled, gurgled or Auto-Tuned to death. Sometimes it can be conveyed coolly, from a seated position, while backed by Washington D.C.’s soul garage band Black Alley, and still cut through all the noise.
- “Return of the Cool” feat. B. Hess
- “Drug Lord Couture”
- “Luxury Vintage Rap”
Nick Grant (vocals); Danny Henderson (drums); Andrew White (guitar); Joshua Cameron (bass); Branden Jacobs (keys); Walter Clark (percussion)
Producers: Rodney Carmichael, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Niki Walker, Kara Frame, Bronson Arcuri; Production Assistant: Maia Stern; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR.
For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast.