“I can only show you what I can show you
And I can only show you me
So this is me”
 – “Welcome 2 My World”

That’s a relief. I thought for a second he was going to show me Waka Flocka Flame or MC AK. I kid. When you write all day long for a living, sometimes you have to stop and smell the roses, and make yourself laugh a little bit. Emcees understand this too – they are also writers for a living. That’s why Malachi Grant is not afraid to take sly jabs at what dominates the airwaves in his press release, noting that his album swims in a sea full of “Bandz a Make Her Dance” and “Bitches in the Trap.” Grant views himself as having a higher calling than these dumbed down raps – listing musical influences ranging from Big L to Biggie, from Rakim to Tupac. That’s setting a high standard for a newcomer, but like they always say, if you don’t shoot for the stars you’re never going to become one yourself. Oh wait – that’s what Mark David Chapman said. (Too soon? Nah. Its been almost 34 years now.)

In the background you can hear “My Life” featuring Mike Milan. It’s the second song on “Welcome 2 My World” and shows much more promise than most newcomers have after their intro. Judging by a lack of liner notes I have to believe this is self-produced, but if not throw a shout out to Grant’s unnamed beat wizard. I don’t use the word “wizard” lightly in this context – the beat is a pleasant mixture of gritty and head nodding while keeping a carefully measured balance with the lyrics. I don’t know Milan any better than I do Grant before popping this CD in, but I’m not mad at him singing the hook. They’re a good tandem on the track.

Malachi gives up a little of his spotlight on three straight songs to another newcomer called Dunn Da God, so just when you think the God IS done, he’s back for another one. That’s alright because like Mike Milan before he’s not taking Grant down a notch. He gets the solo shine back for “Flya Than,” which is probably the closest thing to the people he was poking at in his one sheet. It has a little bit of that swag to the point he has to admit “Bankhead Bounce, ain’t from the South” on the track and that “people say I’m from the A” when they hear it but “that’s okay-kay-kay-kay-kay, I get money either way.” I don’t think it’s a bad song, but in terms of what Grant seems to be capable of, it’s not his creative peak. That comes on songs like “Signed and Sealed.”

“This a love letter to my shorty sincerely
Signed sealed delivered to the times we held dearly
You’re all I need like Mary and Meth
I’ll be your right foot, you can be my left
Jump on the good foot just to see what’s next
The first day we met, I’ll never forget
To me it was all respect…”

Occasionally I find Malachi Grant falling into the traps he aspires to not be like – talking about popping bubbly on “Living My Life” and talking about “ice out the freezer, 9 millimeter, shooting non-believers” on “Party Ova Here.” Grant tries very hard to position himself as unique in his one sheet, but I’m not sure I can sum up all 13 tracks as “infection party tunes with a natural NYC grit.” Some songs have a little too MUCH grit – “Lovely” tends to distort when it shouldn’t, as does “Have It All,” suggesting the young man may be doing too much. It’s impressive if he got this far all on his own, but if he’ll network and put a team on it including an outside producer, he may get that much further. He’s far from the rappers he name checks at this stage, but not SO FAR that he can’t climb a little higher next time. How far is up to Grant.

Malachi Grant :: Welcome 2 My World
6Overall Score