Ice City Boyz's breakout hero Nines has had a phenomenal year (well, a couple years, really). After gaining notoriety for his rivalry with C-Biz, the Harlesden rapper was quick (and wise) to back that up with some actual music. At that point, any critics of his tactics were quickly silenced by some well-timed freestyles and the subsequent news that he'd been snapped up by XL Recordings. We all know the story from there and how it culminated in the game-changing and career-defining Crop Circle earlier this year.

Maybe you just know Crop Circle, or maybe you're familiar with the One Foot In and One Foot Out projects, but there's a whole heap of material besides that. In fact, when you really dig through all the mixtapes, singles, guest spots and so on, it turns out Nines is staggeringly prolific. Even on Spotify, which is generally known for being a bit patchy to say the least when it comes to UK rap, the Ice City don still has six full-length projects on there——and none of this "seven tracks is enough for an album" nonsense either, we're talking 18 tracks a piece.

Suffice to say, he's put the work in. There's noticeable progression between releases, too. There's the straight road rap chill of One Foot In, the soul and gospel inflections on Loyal To The Soil that at times evokes hints of Kanye and Dipset, and then there's the blockbuster production values of Crop Circle. Though his low-slung delivery hasn't changed too much over the years, beyond general refinement, his choice of beats varies wildly and the increased power and production value is palpable. So, for those who think that the world of Nines begins and ends with Crop Circle and a three-year-old rap beef, this feature is for you. So educate yourself on where Nines and the Ice City Boyz came from and you'll be more intrigued than ever to see where they go next.

Ahead of his rare performance at Appelsap Fresh Music Festival on Saturday 11th August (grab your ticket here), listen below to hear more from Church Roads' finest.

This is Nines' Deep Cuts.

Posted on August 09, 2018