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.