One week ago, Nines released his debut studio album One Foot Out. As a UK rapper, in a country where the genre is on the ascendance, one may brush off the feat that he is on track to achieve – a top five album in the UK charts. However, this potential accomplishment cannot be overlooked. Nines has not marketed his album via any traditional media avenues. A low-key character, there have been no television appearances and very little, if any, radio presence (bar his ‘Fire In The Booth Pt. 2’). Social media posts, the release of visuals intermittently for songs off the album over the past ten months and news of his label deal with XL Records, were the only contributions to advertising his upcoming project. In addition, not one of the aforementioned releases can be considered a mainstream record to please the masses.
On completely his own terms, without compromising, Nines will have a top five album if he maintains his position in the charts. It is no less than he deserves – for the past five years, the Harlesden rapper has consistently blessed the streets with quality mixtape after mixtape, and when he decides to do a video, he normally gives viewers a cinematic experience, most notably with his greatest song to date (in my humble opinion), “Can’t Blame” Me’. His strong core fan base have repaid him for the effort he has put into his music over the years, assisting him to reach a somewhat unfathomable chart position, but did his album live up to the hype sonically?
“I used to be a DJ all I wanted to do was buy decks, Then I learnt to whip now I’m mixing in the pyrex”
As a Nines fan, I’ve tried to be as unbiased as possible in my assessment. That being said, I haven’t been able to stop listening to his debut studio album for the past week. Although some may feel it is not on par with his mixtapes, I genuinely feel that he has put out a stellar project. He sets the scene with “Intro“, instantly hitting on a constant theme throughout the project, whether blowing up in music will take him away from his roots. The piano-based instrumental produced by EY, is beautifully relaxed and showcases his talent as a beatmaker.
It also feeds in perfectly to what could be the next big single from the album, “Goin In“. The hook cleverly incorporates lines from previous Ice City Boyz tracks, all referencing Nines, aptly leaving Skrapz’ line to cap off the chorus. The sample sounds uncannily similar to Franco Micalizzi’s “Voices for Sadness Theme“, used in Stalley’s “Fountain of Youth“, complementing the skippy synths, and hard-hitting drum-line. He maintains momentum with the late Summer hit, ‘Trapper of the Year’, which follows the lines of ‘Goin In’ in terms of subject matter, but highlights his braggadociousness and ruthless streak, especially in the second verse.