We’re kicking off our first roundup of the fall with some of our favorite late-summer releases. This edition of NMR features killer tunes from Sherm, Maddy O’Neal, 44 Ardent, Modapit, and more.
David vs. Goliath Redux: ‘Dumb Money’ Revives the Battle of the Underdogs Against the One Percenters
In an era marked by the ever-widening chasm between the affluent and the rest of society, “Dumb Money” thrusts us into the battleground where the underdogs take on the one percenters.
Remember the fervor of Occupy Wall Street? It ignited as a 2,000-strong march against wealth disparity and burgeoned into an enduring two-month “sit-in” in the heart of lower Manhattan over a decade ago. Fast forward to January 2021, and we witnessed another riveting showdown: the GameStop Short Squeeze, a tale of David versus Goliath where ordinary folks scored big wins while titans of the stock market hemorrhaged millions by the day. “Dumb Money” draws inspiration from “The Antisocial Network” and vividly reimagines these events from just over two and a half years ago.
The narrative commences in the summer of 2019, introducing Keith Gill, portrayed with aplomb by Paul Dano—a Chartered Financial Analyst with a YouTube channel. Gill fervently believes that GameStop’s stock is unjustly undervalued and doesn’t hesitate to broadcast his convictions across YouTube and Reddit. As an increasing number of “average Joes” rally behind GameStop, Wall Street’s upper echelons grow increasingly jittery. Ultimately, Gill and his cohort of investors strike gold, leaving a trail of shattered illusions and substantial losses for the avaricious CEOs of Wall Street.
Paul Dano’s portrayal of Gill is nothing short of stellar. He encapsulates the essence of a goofy yet astute YouTuber and financial analyst, projecting an aura of innocence that masks the intricate web of financial machinations beneath. The supporting cast, including Seth Rogen and Vincent D’Onofrio, adds depth and authenticity to this riveting real-life drama. The ensemble features familiar faces like Pete Davidson, America Ferrera, Sebastian Stan, Shailene Woodley, and Anthony Ramos, all contributing to a formidable ensemble.
Director Craig Gillespie, renowned for his work on “Cruella,” maintains a brisk pace throughout the film. He adeptly translates the script, a collaboration between Lauren Schuker Blum and Rebecca Angelo, along with Ben Mezrich’s source material, into a visually captivating narrative. While the financial jargon might appear daunting, especially for those without a background in business, rest assured that the majority of the dialogue breaks it down into plain and accessible language. This ensures that the film remains engaging and comprehensible for a diverse audience.
“Dumb Money” offers something for everyone—whether you’re a financial aficionado keen to relive this enthralling chapter of history or merely curious about the real-life clash between financial giants and the little guys.
September 23, 2023. Atlanta, Georgia –Epic Records recording artist, Nick Grant, releases a new album, his most personal, Sunday Dinner. The South Carolina native, now based in Atlanta Georgia, is a new “tour de force” in Hip Hop and this body of work confirms it, hands down. For those that are new to the artist, Sunday Dinner (released, September 22, 2023) is Nick Grant’s 8th project and 5th official album, following the releases of: 88 (2016), A Seat At The Table +1 (2016), The Return Of The Cool (2017, official album), Dreamin’ Out Loud (2018, official album), God Bless The Child (2020, official album), Carolina Diaries (2021), and Welcome to Loveland (2022, official album). Nick credits production lead on Sunday Dinner to Donte “Tae Beast” Perkins and Amarah Session.
Raised by his God fearing grandmother, one of her household requirements for the members of her home was regular attendance to church on Sunday; and after, the entire family met for Sunday dinner in their home. In the environment where Nick Grant was raised, his exposure to different figures in the community and the members of his family, gave him different perspectives that impacted his outlook on life and the person he would eventually become. These influences weren’t always positive; from cousins with different temperaments, some of which graduated from college and others who chose a less affluent path; to a drug addicted mother and an absentee father, now deceased; it is clear in this album, Sunday Dinner, that what Nick Grant witnessed and experienced, should have never been his portion in life, but like a good Sunday dinner, Nick wastes none of what was dished on his plate, “I was long overdue to tell my story.” he expressed when asked in his interview with Danielle Niecey of The Knockturnal about what inspired this project,
“I wanted to be vulnerable and personal with this album. It [the album] reflects, in a way, being vulnerable and not caring about being judged.”
Which one can only imagine, being raised in a christian household with his grandparents in a tough community, likely came with tight guidelines, restrictions, and judgements that kept him, “in-check” and “safe”.
Upon hitting play on the first song, “Worryin’ Bout A Classic,” there’s an echo of the influence from two legendary hip hop artists Andre 3000 and Nas, who co-signed Nick Grant’s artistic genius.“My grandma was a big inspiration for me to pursue music,” Nick shares of his biggest musical influences,“My granddad as well; Jay-z, Nas, Biggie, Tupac, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and [singer] Brandy Norwood. I’ve been inspired by hardworking people that I saw growing up.” Out of respect for his individual artistic expression, it’s important that I emphasize that Nick Grant embodies his own prolific styling in lyricism and wordplay and that his level of talent is reminiscent of Andre 3000 of Outkast, not a comparison I can ever say I’ve come across worthy to make of an emerging artist; and his gifted ability to pen and articulate a story on record, while delivering it all with such a cool, collected demeanor, brings you to mind of Nasir Jones, one of Nick’s creative influences. What gives Nick Grant distinction, however, is found in his vocal presence, performance and the way he writes. He has an unsuspecting way of delivering punch lines; his word placement and phrasing deserves applause; as well as his surety of confidence and undertones that commands the audience to listen to him. He has forged his own lane, his own original style and his own vibe.
The full length album is an introspective collection of Nick’s life events that led him to where he is today as a songwriter-recording artist. It wouldn’t be far-fetched if many classified him as a “hometown hero”, touring with big name acts such as Nas, Dave East, Ab-Soul, Ms. Lauryn Hill and Chronixx; but as you listen closely to Sunday Dinner, you hear a man that has exceeded the limitations placed over his life, and that he still aches to bring structure in his life and in the lives of the people that he loves, the community, the city that raised him.
“I moved to Atlanta with hopes of being able to go back to Carolina and put other people on,” Nick confesses, “I’m still in the process of that. South Carolina is a beautiful place with a diverse rap scene. [There’s] a lot of people doing their thing and I think if we [can] start being consistent in that, we can grab the attention of the masses.”
With the microphone and pen as interchangeable batons, Nick is running his race and writing his way to his wins through consistency in action, his hand to the plow and money where his mouth is. Sunday Dinner is packed with substance. It is a full serving and offering with much to unpack and with every replay there is something more to digest. Although the album is reflective and at times bears within it a solemn depth, there is an air of realistic optimism and playfulness in its composition. The themes that echo through the album are reminiscent of the films, Friday, as it holds a comedic flair and in other moments in his expression, when he shares the heaviness of what caused his life great suffering and pain, Boyz N’ The Hood. At times it is as if we, the listeners, sit on a front porch with Nick in chill-mode, and on impulse, jump in the, “Cutlass, Regal, Impala or Bentley” pimpin’ and cruising the neighborhood in his whip for a ride-along through his ink. Sunday Dinner is reflective yet present, and Nick sets the stage in the phrase, “Ain’t got no white neighbors/still I’m moving the waviest [explicit]/ Riding round with a banger like a radio hit…/…wait for the click“ .
Interwoven in the songs, you sense him interacting with life within, life without and all around him, living day to day and sharing with us the layers and complexity that simply exists in his life; a discomfort he’s learned to maneuver, because he knows no other way. Nick’s intention is clear, he wants his expression to land differently, with hopes that sharing his story, moves his fans,“I hope that these stories resonate with the fans. If somebody shares these experiences I hope that they know they’re not the only ones going through these things.” The artist skillfully illustrates turning points of his self awareness and subtly presents that in his verses. As the events unfold in his past and present waking life, Nick gives breath to the community around him, weaving in dialogue in excerpts, and song transitions on “Know Your Worth/Grandma Said,” these excerpts carefully placed in transition, show that he’s never set aside or moved too far away from the age old wisdom instilled from his childhood from his grandmother.
Nick Grant is notably skilled at affirming the listeners that he catches all of the lessons life has thrown at him, and he is solid enough in himself to manage the pain that proceeds personal triumphs. On the song, “Catch This Fade,” Nick makes it clear that he holds no fear squaring up to the challenges life throws at him in the form of rivals, person, place or thing, “When you got heart that’s hard to beat/ Young [explicit] growing up awkwardly/ Yeah I’m from the Southside – If I lose once gotta fight til I win/ yeah my brother like a bout time / Whoop a [explicit] ass still walked in the house crying/ My dad like how, why knowing damn well I got it from him/ Swing on any [explicit] with a foul vibe…” The artist notes that the song, “ ‘Last jam,’ is a very personal record,” as he speaks on maneuvering the industry and staying grounded in himself, never losing ties to his roots, “it [takes] a unique approach that you don’t hear a lot of rappers talk about,” he adds.
Nick Grant further solidifies himself as a lyrical dynamo, carrying the weight of the project on his back and lightly accenting the album with all in two features from famed lyricist, Ransom, on “Art Dealer” while still dominating in his presence, punchline after punchline; and the two collaborate masterfully. The artists mentioned, “Ransom is a legend. I thought he fit my story so I just wanted his perspective and he executed perfectly.” Another refreshing feature on the album includes the Southern hummingbird herself, Tweet, on “Heaven”. Nick shared that he reached out the award winning songwriter on Twitter for a feature and the collaboration took off from there, “Tweet is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. I’m such a big fan of Tweet and took a shot and just messaged her on Instagram. She’s one of the best vocalists ever.” Without fail, Tweet melodically wisps her haunting vocals the hook, “I’m gon’ take you to heaven/Make you feel like I do,” and Grant showcases the versatility in his range, rolling out his smoother textures of sound that compliment Tweet’s honey ladened vocals.
“[Sunday Dinner is] my most personal album to date, [its] my best body of work.” Nick says towards the closing of his interview with The Knockturnal, “I want my fans to hear and know that I wasn’t scared to do what I loved. I didn’t care about judgment. That I was being my true authentic self while chasing my dream.” To his credit, there lies in the musicality of this project a “down to earth” and “at home feel” in its sound and presentation and when asked, the artist states that the most important part about self-expression as an artist is, “…being truthful.” and he does just that in scenes that are vivid and with wordplay that is highly engaging. Sunday Dinner effortlessly balances out the more prominent sounds in the Rap and Hip Hop scope today. The precision and thoughtfulness he places in compiling this project makes it authentic, nostalgic and heartfelt; and these true elements of classic hip hop are not readily found in this era of the genre today. There are no skips in this body of work and it commands the respect of several thorough listens. Nick Grant’s talent, tenacity, passion and focus is undeniable.
Sunday Dinner is available on all major music streaming platforms, Tidal, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music and many more outlets for listening enjoyment.
We’re coming at you with another absolutely stacked edition of Knock’s NMR. Today, we have electric singles, EPs, and LPs from the likes of LYNY, Whales, Munan, SAYMYNITTI, and many more.
In 2021, Arden Jones, the viral singer-songwriter known for his unique blend of rap and pop, signed a record deal with Atlantic Records. The stage was set for an unforgettable performance by the rising artist.
‘The IHG Athletic Club’ launches the latest pop-up event by IHG Hotels & Resorts leading up to the 2023 US Open.
Doubling down on her unremitting commitment to dismantling the myopic parameters of a single genre, Moya Rey adds yet another gem to her ever-so-refined and just as progressive palette with the release of “Je pense à toi.”
Translating in English to the endearing phrase: “thinking of you,” “Je pense à toi” is a tasteful concoction of Afrobeat, House and R&B that collide together to culminate in a delightful listening experience of epic magnitude.
Produced by fellow multihyphenate Arty Furtado, “Je pense à toi” was recorded in Paris and was filmed in Brooklyn by Deme Brown, who is a queer, non-binary visual artist from Chicago.
Split at the intersection of two languages: English and French, the diffusion that takes place between languages function as unique portals to Rey’s limitless nuance as an artist and serve as a beautiful canvas of her acumen as an avid purveyor of global culture.
Growing up in a Dominican family and having traveled to over twenty-five countries, Rey prides herself on being a vibrant product of myriad cultures. Currently based in Brooklyn, the 25-year-old singer/songwriter is an outstandingly talented polyglot who is enthralled by routine cultivation of sultry lyrics and empowering sentiments of belief.
Earlier this year, Rey dropped another electrifying, genre-bending single: “Back Up.” In an earnest effort to vent about the daily adversity of “cat-calling” that women oftentimes have to deal with, Rey creates an anthem that is just as uplifting as it is infectious.
Influenced by her initial exposure and travels to South Africa, where she explored the regions of KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town, the lyrical content encompasses the next frontier in Rey’s feminist virtue and queer identity.
Before hopping on yet another flight to gain inspiration for her next entity of art, JaJuan Malachi was able to chat with her about a litany of things including when she developed her affinity for cultivating cross-lingual music, opening up for Caribbean artist Konshens earlier this year, the drive behind her non stop hustle, her future and much more.
Here’s how everything went.
When did you discover your appetite for cultivating cross-lingual music?
I have always been a singer/songwriter. From a young age I would sing in the shower and write love songs. I am a self taught piano player and even tried to pick up guitar and ukulele in high school.
The difference when I got older was when I took French and Portuguese classes. I discovered my appetite for cultivating cross-lingual music during my undergraduate years at New York University. A New York City native, NYU simply expanded the worlds I knew existed and made different cultures more accessible to me through different clubs, language classes and study abroad opportunities. I was inspired by my peers, but I forced myself to put aside my hunger for music because I would always prioritize my school work over my own needs or desires.
However, my creative inclinations still took a life of their own. Although I wasn’t making music, I was writing a lot of poems. In my language classes I always chose to make projects that showed the interconnections of our human experiences and culture through music.
I officially started recording music during the pandemic. I was abroad completing my masters with Columbia University. Once the pandemic hit I no longer held on to the excuse that I had to prioritize my school work before my own spiritual practices, and music is one of those spiritual practices I take seriously.
You definitely communicate your passion for cross-lingual music and culture in your latest single “Je pense à toi”, tell me about this Afrobeat, House and R&B fusion.
“Je pense à toi” was produced by Arty Furtado, who produced three out of the four tracks in my first EP Lost in Translation. “Je pense à toi” is French for “Thinking about you”. I was inspired by the track “Je pense à toi”, written by Amadou & Mariam, a musical duo from Mali. I was really inspired by the west african sounds and in general the beautiful tones. I wanted to emulate some of the cadence for the melodies, all the while bringing forward my own experiences and lyricism. The song originally came to life during the pandemic and I kept reworking it to the final form you are able to hear now.
Tell us about your single “Back Up”. Tell me about this amapiano drill fusion, how did it come to life?
The lyrics for BACK UP were inspired by my experiences as a woman being cat called in the most annoying and offensive ways possible. Specific to this song is my experience visiting my mother and younger sister in the South Bronx and feeling harassed every time I walked out of the house. BACK UP is lowkey a diss track to these random men who are outside trynna holla at young girls. Sometimes I intentionally walk with the most stank facial expression on in order to deflect any unwanted attention, but even that doesn’t work. I still get unwanted cat calls in the most belittling way. So the lyrics are partly about telling these crusty, dusty, musty men to BACK UP.
Since visiting South Africa, I mostly wanted to live out my dream of making a house track. I am also a DJ, and House is my favorite genre to DJ. BSNYEA showed me the different house tracks he’s made and I knew it was finally my time. BSNYEA produced, recorded and engineered the song BACK UP. We layered the Amapiano baseline with drill beats, the Dominican güira, Brazilian cuíca and Brazilian Funk at the end.”
How’d you enjoy your Debut TV appearance on Bronx Net TV? That was major!
I absolutely loved having my Debut TV appearance on Bronx Net TV. This happened in January of this year, which was an amazing way to start off the year. It was the first moment I felt like all my hard work was paying off. I think it set a precedent for all that is to come – that I will reap the seeds I sowed and have abundance.
How was it opening up for Konshens? That’s such a surreal milestone.
Opening for Konshens was extremely surreal and also a full circle moment. The Caribbean Students Association (CSA) at NYU reached out to me as an alumna and asked if I would be interested in performing for their end of the year concert. I immediately jumped on the opportunity. As I mentioned, I wasn’t releasing music during undergrad, so it felt like a full circle moment to be invited back to my university to perform my EP. I got a lot of love from the current students and I am very grateful. Also Konshens in general is a vibe! He definitely plays at parties and clubs. When I was an NYU student in CSA, we also definitely were listening to his music then.
What was the central motivation behind the creation of the “Non-English Collective,” which is aptly described as an arts collective for queer, black, latinx and POC artists?
The non-english collective feels like it formed on its own. I am the co-founder with my friend Gamaliel Arroyo. We are both queer, Caribbean artists in Bushwick. We are both also Leos, which is to say we throw ourselves into art and have a sort of perfectionism attitude.
One day Gami decided he wanted to do an art showcase for his paintings and he asked me to DJ. The night was a success of friends and locals stopping by to show love. Then the Grammys happened and the subtitles for Bad Bunny said [speaking in non-english] and [singing in non-english] which was extremely problematic and rooted in western imperialism. We decided to form a collective, and this media portrayal of racism inspired us to go with the name the non-english collective as satire but also to form community and center the artistic productions of queer, black, latinx and POC artists
Between being an adjunct professor, a DJ, a journalist, a photographer, the cofounder of an art collective for queer, black and brown folks, what would you say motivates your unremitting hustle?
Thank you for seeing the many hats I wear! It just feels natural to create and be in community with other artists of color. I always grew up with a community oriented perspective so it just feels natural to combine art and community and continue to release art works as a form of survival. It is what keeps me balanced and able to navigate the mundane or difficult parts of adulthood.
I hear you shot a Pride Campaign with Skittles, what was that experience like?
I truly did not expect this! One of the producers reached out to me directly with the opportunity. Like I said about BronxNet TV, this experience considers to set a precedence for what I am able to accomplish. I love all things creative, and I feel 2023 is the year where I manifest a lot of what I’ve been praying for. I’m more active and willing to show up for myself like I would have shown up for work or school. I am so grateful I can be on a Skittles campaign and that someone will see me and think “she looks like me”. This is the greatest impact I can have, to do what I love and to show girls that look like me that they can too.
We know you have a penchant for keeping super busy per usual, what do you have in store?
Haha! Yes, I definitely love to be working on projects and being extremely hands on.
I am currently working on the post production process for three new singles; “Tourbillon”, “Eternelle Chanel” and “Expectations”. I directed and produced all of them! I am currently in the post production process for Tourbillon- I am editing and color grading it with the support of my friend and filmography Deme Brown. “Eternelle Chanel” and “Expectations” were filmed this summer in Paris, France by the same videographer who shot and edited my second single “Open Letter”. I can’t wait to see how these two turn out!
What’s the best advice you’ve received thus far in your career and from whom?
This may sound so basic, but the best advice I received is to not take things so personal and focus on my own journey. The industry is intense and I’m only now getting started. I just hope to form genuine connections and grow in this way.
Where do you envision Moya Music five years from now?
I feel I am fortunate enough to be able to do what I love. My goal is to monetize off of it and not have to work a regular job. I want all of my creative ventures to sustain me.
To keep up with Moya Rey, check her out on these platforms:
Happy Hump Day! Check out some of our favorite recent dance music releases to help you get through the week. Inside, you’ll find gorgeous new tunes from 1tbp, IMANU x The Glitch Mob, Lefti, JACKNIFE, and many more.