Review: Nines Has Released His Highly Awaited Third-Studio Album ‘Crabs In A Bucket’

Elle Evans

By Elle Evans

Elle Evans

28 Aug 2020

Nines, one of the most-respected and prominent names within British Rap, there are very few artists in the UK Rap game that have been able to sustain the artistic vision, credibility and longevity that Nines has spent the last decade undeniably perfecting. With a boast-worthy catalogue behind him including ‘Church Road To Hollywood’, ‘One Foot Out’, ‘Loyal to the Soil’ to his biggest selling Rap album ‘Crop Circles’- just to name a few! The North West London rapper is also known for giving back to his community, with a plan to redevelop the Church End and Roundwood Unity Centre, Nines aims to create an ongoing commitment to the area that shaped his creative output and personality. Alongside redeveloping the outdoor space to give children and the local community a space to play safely, the centre itself will feature a series of monthly workshops that are set to focus on arts programming, enabling creative discovery for local kids while also building their confidence to enter creative industries.

Nines, has today returned with the release of his highly awaited third-studio album titled, ‘Crabs In A Bucket’; spread across 17 tracks with a slew of triumphant appearances from Skrapz, Headie One, NSG, Nafe Smallz, Roy Woods, Tiggs Da Author, NorthSideBenji, Clavish, Frosty, Q2T and more – the list goes on! Leaving the nations jaws dropped with the release of ‘Clout’ earlier this month – more specifically with the iconic visuals, it was only inevitable that Nines would deliver yet another high-quality body of work to follow through. Alongside the release of the album, Nines also dropped an accompanying 27-minute film – a visual embodiment of the album. Detailing the ups and downs of the last 2.5 years, for the first time Nines lifts the lid and offers insight to his personal life in this autobiographical account.

Opening up the album with “Intro”, an atmospheric and emotionally baring backdrop lays as the foundation for Nines’ heart-felt bars; “Ibiza, I had the time of my life / Came home found out my Dad had cancer could’ve cried all night / Told my agent, no more shows I’m tryna lay low / Ended up back on the block, doin’ the same old” he raps. Detailing his time away from music, he further touches on being submerged and institutionalized back into the environment that raised him, “On the strip like I soon get back on this Rap sh*t / But time goes fast and a year went quick / I turned down them festivals to be here on the strip”. Having built a reputation for his consistent authenticity and all-round raw and honest bars, Nines also confronts the rumours that we’re spreading at the time “Everyone thinks I’m in pen, I’m chillin’ in Spain /  Why they hate my success but they’re feelin’ my pain?”. Admitting his mistakes whilst being consumed by the roads, the rapper then goes on to highlight his success “I spent my whole life hustling in the trap / Invisible knife stuck in my back / Fam, the block adopted me / Used to buy bricks now I’m coppin’ property – it’s Nines”; setting the tone for what’s yet to come with an honest and vulnerable account, “Intro” captures the true essence of Nines’ respected character.

Seamlessly transitioning into the greaze-enriched track ‘Energy’ alongside Skrapz – the dynamic duo has returned! Layered atop an eerie and haunting instrumental courtesy of BeatFreakz; known for their signature gruff and gritty vocal tone, both Nines and Skrapz add that extra punch to the already hard-hitting offering; “First they love you, then they hate you and then they love you again / They say you’re meant to keep your enemies closer than friends / I stay on the road to riches tryna’ see where it ends”, Skrapz raps – relatable for many! As we creep further into the album, Nines wastes no time in displaying his indisputable versatility, switching from his pre-released banger ‘Clout’, supporters are graced with a Quincy Tell Em production on ‘Realist’ featuring Nafe Smallz and Fundz. Quincy, known for his wavey and un-blemished beat-smith provides a smooth and melodic backdrop for the trio to perform atop. Introducing the track, Nafe Smallz glazes the beat with his signature auto-tuned vocals, accommodating an infectious hook before Nines and Fundz enter with their boast-worthy verses.

Stepping into track five, ‘Monster’ see’s Nines boasting his punchlines, by dropping a variety of familiar names within the UK Rap game throughout; “The pack only had a bit of dust, so put a gram in every z it’s common sense like my n***a Hus / You see my watch dancing like MoStack / N***a I’m the plug like my bro Jack / The fame ain’t changed me, I’m still the same / I just live in the suburbs next to AJ Tracey” he spits. It’s when you come across ‘NIC’ alongside Tiggs Da Author that you automatically enter a realm of nostalgia, harnessed with a bond-esc instrumental – picture the pair rolling around in a vintage convertible with blacked-out shades on and you’ll understand!

It was only right that Nines called on NorthSideBenji to accompany him in his hotly tipped album on their track titled, ‘Don’t Change’. Introducing it with a sample taken from the 1995 release of Kut Klose’s track ‘Don’t Change’, the Toronto-based artist goes back to back with Nines on the hook before the North West London native graces us with playful bars detailing a love interest. Teaming up with WSTRN’s Louis Rei for the head-bopping anthem ‘Lights’, Rei gifts us with straight-talking bars; “Listen, it’s just me against the world or it’s ego / That just means it’s me against myself / Family, I’m trying to redefine the L’s / Life’s like the drug game, you’ve got to re-align the scales”. Highlighting their growth, whilst reflecting on their past, Nines pens his ambitions, determination and hunger, stating that it’s him against the world – an encouraging and empowering message for his younger supporters.

Enlisting OVO’s Roy Woods for the energy-driven track ‘Money Ain’t A Thing’, we swiftly transition into the summer-infused joint ‘Ringaling’ featuring no other than Headie One and Odeal. Accommodating a sun-kissed and Afro-beat instrumental, this song is bound to have you up and moving! With Odeal on the undeniably infectious hook, both Nines and Headie drop playful and caption-worthy verses from start to finish – prepare yourself for the snap chat stories with this one! ‘Flavours’ is as evident as the title seems, listing an array of exotic flavours from start to finish, Nines yet again, boasts his wordsmith in this one.

Approaching the end of the album, Nines closes out the project with the laid-back ‘Stalker Interlude’ and ‘Movie Knights’ before stumbling across the highly anticipated link up between Nines, Clavish, Frosty, Q2T and Chappo CSB on ‘All Stars 2’. Clocking in at just over 4 minutes long, the minimal and head-bopping beat allows each rappers verse to shine centre stage. Ending what’s been a phenomenal listening experience, Nines signs out with the ‘Outro’, glazing the beat with point-blanc bars – ‘Crabs In A Bucket’ is an outstanding body of work that covers songs for every occasion. From the hard-hitting and thought-provoking tunes, to the summer-infused tracks made for the ladies, Nines didn’t come to play! Posing as another top selling album to add to his ever-growing catalogue, this project has been worth the wait.

Listen to ‘Crabs In A Bucket’ below and on Apple Music here. You can watch the accompanying film here.