nick pratt manifest destiny

Nick Pratt’s album mirrors the life of a thousand Texas rap acts heading West.

“I know that I can make something out of nothing.”

In the 1930s The Great Migration took plenty of blacks from the caste system known as the Jim Crow South and headed north or west. The end result was the demographic shift of thousands, if not millions of black faces in search of something better not from home. Although the Migration died off around the 1970s, it subtly continues today. Country rappers, proficient in preaching with the tongue of a Southern boy who knows the world have moved beyond their comfortable homes down South and headed West – in the name of glory.

Texas is patient zero in regards to its burgeoning rap stars leaving. They aren’t hitching their wagons to the idea that West is where their destinies lie. But they’re still going, still venturing and still seeking. It’s happened with Houston born rappers such as Stockz and with DFW movers such as Justus, Rikki Blu & Nick Pratt. Pratt is no stranger to shifting around the country for his own personal gain. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh where it taught him how to man up in a strange world. He still carries within the demeanor and twang of a Southern boy cautious of the world at large. It’s why Manifest Destiny, his late summer album has meant not only so much to him but his fan base as well.

“All I wanna do is make country rap tunes in my basement…” – Nick Pratt

Pratt’s growth as a rap star isn’t lost on him, especially considering all the times he’s wanted to quit and pursue something else. It hits all of us in different moments. There’s a strain that comes to chasing dreams, a constant battle uphill where the walls feel much closer than they appear. But Pratt’s words all throughout Manifest Destiny tell us that he won’t quit, even if all the external forces in the world lean on him to do so.

“It’s a dog eat dog world, and I’m just tryna get a little piece,” Pratt sings on “Dawgeatdawg” as if he were a lost member of The Dramatics. There’s mentions of hustling, chasing women and chasing dollars, typical alpha male aspirations. Pratt operates like Brother Mouzone in a way here. He’ll lose sleep, he’ll tug on tightly rolled blunts to get away from his problems. But he’ll constantly remind himself the same way Mouzone told his audience, “What got you here is your word and your reputation … without it, you’re done.” With frequent collaborator Cassius G’s help, Nick Pratt has found himself on the edge of selling his soul just to get ahead.

He contends with a bit of remorse, “I know soon as I learn some patience, I won’t learn how to wait no more.” Looking out at the skies of California, he’ll smile with an unease to him. Living out there has married his two loves, hard bass and introspection. The rubbery bass of “2DamnHard” complete with hand claps make the Funkytown product feel as if he’s from Oakland. He could have called Manifest Destiny TexaCali if he wanted to. But it’s all about achievement with Nick.

“All I wanna do is make country rap tunes in my basement,” he admits on “TooDopeBoyz”. His voice raises a pitch just to drive the Cali influence home but he’s still a Texas boy at heart. Growing up, you learned to be Dolemite with boasts and braggadocio. Pratt’s humor leads us to an image where he may throw 20 inch rims on his niece’s skates so she can ride bigger than anybody. But that’s Nick’s destiny. To smoke big, make the music he wants and feels and ultimately travel the world with it.

Everyone who has ventured either East or West or North in search of their ultimate dream hits that block. That uneasy feeling of doubt and frustration. Nick Pratt is one of, it not thousands of rap acts from the Lone Star State who knows the state and its rap politics. He won’t be “martyred down” in the hustle, especially not in the name of decent rap tunes. He’ll keep pushing, until all other options are exhausted.

Pratt’s Manifest Destiny is available now on iTunes.

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