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Sample Sessions: Crabs In A Bucket

Sam-ple Sess-i-on

1. Noun

No stops. No skips. A one-take review.


North West London rapper Nines has been making his statement on the UK scene for many years now, with classic tracks such as 'Money On My Mind', 'Yay' and 'Can't Blame Me', which all had the streets in a frenzy when they came out. He's had his troubles away from music, taking multiple hiatuses across his decade long career, but he's back again with a new album to prove he is still very much with the times. He has made a legacy in the UK rap game with his laid back, soothing flow juxtaposed with his lyrics about the streets - Nines is the GOAT in some people's mind when it comes to UK Rap, can he prove them right with 'Crabs in A Bucket'? As per the rules, no stops, no skips, no rewinds.


Intro: A perfect starting point for 'Crabs in a Bucket' as Nines delivers some signature Nines bars and flows over a very Nines beat, explaining his absences from music and social media. He also talks about how he's gripped to the block and despite his success, he still finds it hard to leave.

Lyrical content: 9

Production: 9

Delivery: 9

Highlights: Real, heartfelt lyrics

Lowlights: None

Overall: 9






Energy: The ICB's biggest exports are back yet again on a track together, delivering classic gritty street talk over a hard hitting Beatfreakz beat. The beat on this is no doubt the highlight, of this one, with the spacey synths, pulsating bass and knocking drum pattern, really sitting perfectly under Nines and Skrapz. The hook could be better and Nines' delivery in this is not to my liking in a few parts, but overall a very solid collaboration between Harlesden's heavyweights.

Lyrical Content: 7

Production: 9

Delivery: 7

Highlights: Skrapz verse, Beat

Lowlights: Hook, occasionally delivery

Overall: 8




Clout: This one is one we have already heard before this album dropped; 'Clout' is a club-

ready banger full of clever bars delivered in Nines' signature laid back lazy flow we all know and love over a very hard hitting beat with a good top melody produced by 1st Born. Classic Nines with an extra sprinkle of commercial appeal.

Lyrical Content: 9

Production: 8

Delivery: 7

Highlights: Beat, Nines' first verse

Lowlights: Hook could be a bit better

Overall: 8




Realist: Instant reload. Nafe Smallz comes through effortlessly on the hook; super catchy, which sets up perfectly for Nines and Fundz (especially) to both come through with A1 verses over a ridiculously smooth Quincy Tellem beat. Perfect harmony between melodic rap and the classic road rap Nines is known for.

Lyrical Content: 8

Production: 10

Delivery: 10

Highlights: Hook, Fundz' verse

Lowlights: None

Overall: 9.5



Monster: This track is a perfect example of how Nines can often have very hard verses but often, the main downfall is the hook. The hook is a bit lacklustre and repetitive like Clout, but Nines kinda makes you forget about that with the heat he's bringing in the verses. Also, I feel like the beat could've been a bit better, that being said the droning bass compliments Nines so well, and he's used it a lot in his discography. However, I do feel like the sound selection for the main melody could've definitely been better as the lead kinda gets drowned out at points. Solid.

Lyrical Content: 7

Production: 7

Delivery: 7

Highlights: Nines' verses

Lowlights: Hook

Overall: 7




Airplane Mode: Nines calls on the help of afroswing superstars NSG for this generational, stylistic juxtaposition which works remarkably well. From the way the beat comes in to the hook, this track is bound to set clubs alight. NSG did pleasantly surprise me on this, as I usually think of them as artists who rely heavily on their hooks, but their individual verses keep up the high standards set by Nines on the first verse. With Nines' classic performance, smooth danceable beat and NSG outperforming themselves, it's a shame summer has ended, because that's when we'd truly appreciate this.

Lyrical Content: 7

Production: 9

Delivery: 9.5

Highlights: Everything

Lowlights: None

Overall: 9





NIC: NIC proves that hip hop is still alive and kicking. The incredible beat by Show n Prove featuring a great string sample, bassline with an acoustic feel and classic drums gives a perfect backdrop for Nines to spray some street tales as he does so well, vividly detailing his trials and tribulations. Nines comes through with impeccable delivery, flow and detailing of his come up, making this one of his strongest songs in a while and proves why the streets love him so much. Not to forget that Tiggs Da Author also delivers a very strong sung hook to illustrate why he is one of the most underrated artists we have in the UK.

Lyrical Content: 10

Production: 9

Delivery: 10

Highlights: Great hook from Tiggs, Nines' delivery

Lowlights: Nothing

Overall: 9.5




Don't Change: The beginning of Don't Change features a resplendent sample with a sort of nostalgic feel, which sets up for Nines to ditch the street talk momentarily like 'Airplane Mode' and instead deliver a tune about his girl problems. NorthSide Benji, previously unknown to me, has opened my ears with a remarkably catchy hook and smooth verse, which goes hand in hand with Nines. My only real qualm about this one, is the length, this song is too good to be under three minutes - another verse by Nines or another feature would have elevated this to another plateau. Super strong track and one for the playlist.

Lyrical Content: 9

Production: 10

Delivery: 9

Highlights: Beat, Hook from Benji

Lowlights: Needs another verse!

Overall: 9




Lights: This one here is no doubt my favourite track on the album. Nines' flow has a tempo spike on this one, as he picks the pace which works incredibly well and provides a incongruity to the usual slow, lazy flow we all have become accustomed to. The feature from Louis Rei holds up to Nines' exceptional verse - miraculous wordplay and equally as impressive flow patterns come together with Nines and the Karlos beat to make a perfect combination and no doubt one of the most scintillating tracks of the year.

Lyrical Content: 10

Production: 10

Delivery: 10

Highlights: Literally everything - hard to single out individual things on this one.

Lowlights: Not applicable.

Overall: 10




Money Ain't A Thing: A cross pond collaboration between two great artists - it was bound to be great and it is. Another classic Nines flavour on the production paired with more classic Nines bars, tied together with a sensational hook from Roy Woods. Reminiscent of a couple tracks from One Foot Out, the beat is full of depth, from the simple, smooth top melody, to the more complex counter melody which comes in with the vocals just before the hook, the droning reese base and the heavy, tight drums really combine miraculously with Roy and Nines to make another hit from North West's finest.

Lyrical Content: 9

Production: 9

Delivery: 10

Highlights: Hook, melodies from Roy Woods and the sound selection in the production.

Lowlights: None

Overall: 9.5




Ringaling: Two of London's most reputable artists combine with Odeal to make a song with huge commercial appeal. Although the hook is not my cup of tea, Nines talk about girls is just as effective as his street talk, he's done it so well over the years and this is another top example of it. His verse doesn't set the world alight, but Nines bars and flow compliment the smooth, afro-swing inspired beat. Headie comes through with a verse following the theme - not his strongest verse, I prefer him on drill but the lyrics are decent and he catches a flow effortlessly on this one. Not my favourite, but by no means is this a bad track. One for the clubs.

Lyrical Content: 6

Production: 7

Delivery: 7

Highlights: Flows from both Nines and Headie One

Lowlights: Hook is a bit bland

Overall: 6.5






Flavours: Nines' ode to weed is the ultimate anthem for all the smokers - mellow beat, smart wordplay, gracious sample and transition between sections of the track just make the perfect combination to compliment the lyrical content on this track.

Lyrical Content: 9

Production: 8

Delivery: 7

Highlights: Theme of the track

Lowlights: Nothing in particular, maybe a feature/extra verse is needed to boost this.

Overall: 8




Flex: Flex is a track which fits very well into the new era of UK music - the autotuned hook contrasted with Nines sleek drug talk makes for a decent combination. However, Nines verse on this isn't up to his usual level in my opinion, the flow feels a bit choppy in parts and at times tries to overload a bar with maybe one word too many. The features from NorthSide Benji and Reid B2WN are relatively strong, but this track lacks wow factor in my opinion.

Lyrical Content: 6

Production: 9

Delivery: 6

Highlights: Hook, Nines bars

Lowlights: Flow in places

Overall: 7



Stalker Interlude: This number has a few similarities to Nines FITB, another strong song about the ladies, especially similar when it comes to his flow and cadence. Tranquil beat, sweet vocals from Cherrie and Nines flowing makes for a short but sweet interlude.

Lyrical Content: 9

Production: 9

Delivery: 10

Highlights: Cherries vocals, production, Nines bars reminiscent of his FITB

Lowlights: None

Overall: 9




Movie Knights: Nines is very intelligent with this, the bars correlate to the title of the track, referencing cinema and TV in almost every bar very competently. If you're into bars, this one is for you. However, Nines delivery is a slight hindrance on this track, again, it feels a bit too clumpy like on Flex. Sounds a bit slurred in places, but my love for all the films and shows he name drops outweigh the occasional bad flow on a bar for me.

Lyrical Content: 10

Production: 9

Delivery: 6

Highlights: Wordplay, unique beat

Lowlights: Flow in places

Overall: 8.5




All Stars 2: An amalgamation of popping and more underground artists in London right now, this track really speaks volumes in illustrating how good Nines is at getting solid features on his projects from all walks of music. Clavish starts off with some witty bars, Frosty comes in with his signature lazy flow, akin to Nines, and drops a solid verse. Again, I feel like Nines let himself down flow wise on a few bars, but nevertheless another solid verse overall as he makes up for it with his lyrical content and his flow on his second verse. ChappoCSB and Q2T go back to back on their verse; relatively solid, although some of their syllables sound very harsh which contrasts the rest, and I'm not sure if it's in a good or bad way.

Lyrical Content: 8

Production: 7

Delivery: 7

Highlights: Nines second verse, Frosty's verse, Clavish's clever football bar

Lowlights: Some of ChappoCSB and Q2T's harsh syllables, Nines flow at the start of his first verse

Overall: 7




Outro: A perfect homage to just how good Nines is. Bars are perfect from the start, the beat is the type that always compliments Nines so well, he continues giving us street tales and an insight to his life - exactly why we appreciate him so much.

Lyrical Content: 10

Production: 10

Delivery: 7

Highlights: Real life bars, depth in the beat

Lowlights: Delivery in one or two places

Overall: 9




Final Score:


9



Watch the accompanying short film here:




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