Born in a small town in South Carolina, Nick Grant discovered his passion for rapping early on in life and never looked back. The young MC isn't like the new wave of Southern rappers that are finding success at the moment. There is no weird Auto-Tune effects or exaggerated drums in his music; it's just straight bars. The 27-year-old lyricist takes his work seriously and it's paying off in a big way.

"I might just have an idea or be inspired by something I saw, whether on TV or experience I seen someone else go through or I got through and I might write it," Grant tells XXL. "Depends on what happens first. If I write it first and the beat comes or the beat comes and I write it. I might just have an idea and I write it in my phone or just open up a page and write it right there. I’m very technical with the rhymes, I like to write it down, and I’m a pen and pad type person."

With his recent mixtape, 88, getting some major buzz, XXL got Nick Grant on the phone to talk about what he grew up listening to, meeting the CEO of Grand Hustle Jason Geter and his dream of being the best rapper of all-time.

Name: Nick Grant

Age: 27

Hometown: Walterboro, S.C.

I grew up listening to: Jay Z, Nas, Tribe Called Quest. I can go on for hours, D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, OutKast, Rakim, 2Pac, Biggie, Lauryn Hill, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield and a lot of others. The first real dope hip-hop feeling I had was “Check The Rhime” by A Tribe Called Quest and Biggie’s “Big Poppa" is the first rap song I ever learned.

I always played around [with being a rapper] when I was a kid but I took it serious when I was like 12. I was playing back and forth with friends in the neighborhood and we had the set up: microphone, speakers and rap. We used to make our own demos and stuff. I got better as time progressed. My grades were decent until I discovered I had a talent for this. I couldn’t wait to get back home to write rhymes to other people’s songs and put my name in the place of their name and re-rap it.

That was like exercise for me, to learn how to write. I always tell this story, I was in school one day and it was a free day and I was just chillin’. The teacher asked me to rap and I rapped and he was like what are you doing here. Basically telling me you need to go chase [hip-hop] and drop out of school. That was like when I was 17 in my junior year.

Most people don’t know: I’m kind of a clown. I crack jokes a lot

My style has been compared to: I get a lot of Nas comparisons; people just say I make good music. They compare me to everything that came out in the ‘90s and I’m restoring the feeling. [My sound] is very much so original, it's like the new mixed with the old. It’s pretty much a mix of everything.

Standout moment to date: Meeting my manager Jason Geter. It kind of made everything come [to] fruition for me. Everything I ever thought about just moving. Being in the crib and just writing and my music wasn’t getting anywhere even with the efforts. Meeting up with him just kind of made everything a reality.

My goal in hip-hop is: To be the best.

I’m going to be the next: My goal is to be next great hip-hop legend more than anything. I just love it so much. That would fit me so well. Comparing me to Jay Z and Nas, those guys just being the gods of hip-hop music, I think that’s what I want to be one day.

Follow Nick Grant on Twitter and Soundcloud.

Standout: 88

"Royalty"

"Royalty (Remix)"

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