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Nick Grant reveals why lyrical skills still matter in hip-hop

Nick Grant hails from South Carolina, but he’s getting his footing in Atlanta largely due to his lyrical abilities. Just recently, he spit arguably one of the hottest freestyles of 2015 on “Sway in the Morning.” He spoke with rolling out about some of experiences in music, teaming up with Grand Hustle’s Jason Geter, and bringing back lyricism in rap.

When did you decide to make a transition from South Carolina to Atlanta in order to pursue music?

I’ve been back and forth to Atlanta since 1996, but I moved permanently in 2002. Around that time, it was dope to see OutKast coming up because they were different. You know I always stood out from the crowd a little bit, but I listened to OutKast and also different MCs that were from different places because for the most part I really didn’t like what was going on if it wasn’t OutKast, UGK or Scarface. Everybody was rhyming but [there weren’t] complex raps in the South, and I was more so into that like Nas, and Jay Z but it was dope to watch OutKast.

How did you navigate your way through the music industry in Atlanta?

I was battling at first.That was the first step to me getting my feet wet in regard to becoming a better lyricist, battling people who were competition, and learning how to make records and going to the clubs and seeing what people were vibing to. But for me it was learning how to write raps and lyrics that made people think.

Talk about the freestyle that you spit on “Sway in the Morning.” How did that interview come about?

My team just told me that we were going to go do Sway, and that’s really how it just happened. I didn’t even know until a couple of days before theinterview went down, but when I walked into the room they just asked me to rhyme. It wasn’t really an organized situation, so I did what IU did but I was kind of nervous because I felt like that was going to be my coming out to the world, so I didn’t want to blow it.

What can we expect from your upcoming EP?

I’m actually working on an EP. Jason Geter and I are tentative and we are just coming together collectively so that we can pick the right songs to put it out. I don’t want to just put it out either. I want everything that I do to be consistent.

andre j. ellington