Nick Grant – Welcome to Loveland (Review)

Nick Grant has been no stranger to the underground. He’s been working for years, over five years at this point. He’s always been able to bring together solid features & decent projects, but never one that can truly hook you. His bars are there undoubtedly, but his overall sound is cookie cutter. This new one is one that truly distinguishes him from the crowd though, seeing him calling back to older funk music & southern acts like Outkast.

The project is determined to take you into his world of Loveland, with an intro that feels straight out of A Love Below. It falls into “Azzfunkdeeziak,” a track that has a funky instrumental & singing that feels like something prime Andre 3000 would put together. There’s plenty of Outkast influence on this project, but its done with love rather than feeling like a cheap intimidation. We also see a Pharrell interpolation on “Gangsta Lean,” done in the same style as the Clipse’s song of the same name.

When he needs to bar out, he delivers. “Brutal Honesty” is a track with a killer verse, something that Nick Grant’s years long career has primed him for. The verse wouldn’t sound too out of place on an older Grant album, but with this project’s funk inspired instrumentation, it completely separates it from previous material. “Cupid is a Woman” is probably the most straight forward rap track we hear, rarely relying on the falsetto hooks.

These southern funk inspired albums seem to be making a little bit of a comeback, we had recently seen Pink Siifu do something similar with GUMBO’! That project pushes & pulls in all directions though, from having these lo-fi distorted tracks to heavily funk inspired tracks. That project was an extremely intriguing listen but Nick Grant’s project hits just the right balance. He doesn’t try to push the genre to its limits, he does everything justice with solid lyricism.

We see him throughout the project discuss the topics of love & developing with another in the modern context. He’s aware of the toxic masculinity & female empowerment throughout the project, taking both into consideration. It never feels preachy though, more of a journey through the sexy funky journey. Not every bar lands good, some coming across somewhat corny but that’s what comes with a project of sex bars.

This may be Nick Grant’s most enjoyable project to date. Not for the lyricism, he’s definitely been better on previous works, but for the clear love for the genre. A project like this is not done blindly, and its something he was able to string together by studying. Not only that, its an incredibly sexy feeling project. Hip Hop rarely makes sex seem sexy, making it more of a brag, but every moment on here feels intimate. With this release, Grant sets the bar high for himself, something that we hope to see more of in the future.

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