The London rapper delivers his triumphant second album.
Nines kicked off his campaign with the single "Clout," a reminder that in an age filled with attention seeking and provocative media, he was already "the man before this rap." The single came with a video paying homage to iconic hip-hop albums, with Nines making the bold but just statement that he is way past the clout-chasing stage—he now sits alongside rap royalty. The second single, "Airplane Mode," featuring London's favourite Afrobeat collective NSG, sees Nines casually glide over the bouncy production of Kz and Rudimental. This track caught a lot of people by surprise, since Nines is known for his mellow selection of instrumentals, and here he's flowing over a beat that could have come from MoStack or even J Hus. Both singles foreshadowed the rest of the album: classic Nines we were already familiar with and a Nines who has the ability to turn a club on its feet.
"Airplane Mode" was just one of many tracks that showed Nines' ability to adapt his tranquil flow to an energetic selection of instrumentals. "Realist," featuring wave king Nafe Smallz and fellow Ice City comrade Fundz, sees him take on the popular trapwave subgenre. The skill displayed on this track comes from his ability to stay true to his laid-back nature and still maintain the spirit of a trapwave song, without the use of Autotune or any other kind of melodic rap.
On "Movie Knights," Nines reminds us that he's one of the most lyrically proficient rappers in the country. Every line in the song makes reference to a crime movie, as he pays homage to films such as Shottas, City Of God, Goodfellas and so on. Similar to the "Clout" music video, Nines ends the track with a nod to his own work: "and I'll rob your crop like me and Koonz in crop circle" (a reference to the "Crop Circle" movie he had delivered in his previous album campaign).
Nines doesn't stop there. He honours more influences on the seventh track, "NIC," featuring Tiggs Da Author, where we hear a sample from Styles P's "World Tour," flipped by Scottish producer Show N Prove. One of the more popular songs from the album, "NIC" follows Nines as he recollects his life from ages 10 to 21, detailing how he got himself into the game, while Tiggs Da Author compliments these audacious tales with a champion chorus.
Nines is an auteur and should be respected as one. Taking control in everything from his music to his films, showing labels and artists alike that nobody can market trap to the masses like him. No matter what genre of music or creative medium he dabbles in, Nines will always find a way to infiltrate and express himself unapologetically, as he explains at the end of "Airplane Mode": "You got ice city films now, got a ice city book coming soon, ice city clothing, While you crab n*ggas gon' be stuck on the block forever." His ambitions are bigger than the bucket. Who would've thought the British response to Donald Glover would be Nina with the Nina?
Wed / 30 Sep 2020
02. Energy feat. Skrapz
04. Realist feat. Nafe Smallz and Fundz
06. Airplane Mode feat. NSG
07. NIC feat. Tiggs Da Author
08. Don't Change feat. NorthSideBenji
09. Lights feat. Louis Rei
10. Money Ain't A Thing feat. Roy Woods
11. Ringaling feat. Headie One and Odeal
13. Flex feat. NorthSideBenji and REID B2WN
14. Stalker Interlude feat. Cherrie
15. Movie Knights
16. All Stars 2 feat. Clavish, Frosty, Q2T and Chappo CSB