British rapper Nines has captivated a global audience with his raw and authentic sound, serving as a voice of the streets of London. In addition to rhyming about his upbringing as a hustler, he is a noted football fan, and one listen through his various mixtapes and albums makes it very apparent. Coming off the successful recent release of his ‘Crop Circle’ album, we take a look back at the Gooner’s best football-inspired bars from his vast discography.
Rising British rapper Nines, hailing from Harlesden in Northwest London, is one of the most dedicated artists in the UK underground scene. After a series of mixtapes and freestyle videos gained him notoriety, Nines, born Courtney Freckleton, went on to release a pair of studio albums to much commercial success, with his recent sophomore album Crop Circle debuting at No. 5 on the UK charts.
While it was his unbridled and vivid descriptions of life on the streets of London that has been the biggest source of his success, Nines loves him some football — especially Arsenal. The 28-year-old most notably owns an iced-out Arsenal chain, which he sports everywhere from matches, to music videos, to even the cover of his debut mixtape, From Church Rd. To Hollywood.
Furthermore, he has a penchant for showcasing his love of football over beats as well. While his newest album Crop Circle contains a few football references here and there, his entire discography is rife with them. We went back through his entire body of work and pulled out the 10 best football lines spit by the British MC.
“Dreaming” — From Church Rd. to Hollywood
“Only difference is I was going home to a mansion/
Had an indoor football pitch playing goal-to-goal/
I was still me I never sold my soul”
Off his debut mixtape From Church Rd. to Hollywood, “Dreaming” contemplates what Nines’ life will be like after he makes it big, and that includes having an indoor pitch just in case he needs to stunt on his haters.
“No-one looking bummy now we’re all fresh/
They’re calling me a legend like George Best”
Also in “Dreaming”, this line shows Nines isn’t afraid to flex his football knowledge for everyone to see. Comparing himself to a legend like former Manchester United winger George Best is bold, but he’s backed it up so far in his career.
“AJ’D Out” — From Church Rd. to Hollywood
“If you’re scheming on my bling/
I’ll start beating off my ting/
Till I’m empty, then I’ll be gone like Theo on the wing”
Seven tracks later on “AJ’D Out”, Nines threatens his haters with retaliation if his enemies try to rob him, while also letting them know he won’t get caught up in a situation unarmed using a slick Theo Walcott reference. He even shot parts of the music video for “AJ’D Out” at the Emirates Stadium.
“Money on My Mind” — Loyal to the Soil
“I’m tryna stick to the plan/
I ain’t visiting the San Siro when I fly into Milan”
This one comes from “Money On My Mind”, the standout single off of Nines’ third mixtape Loyal To The Soil. In the song he conveys his mindset and commitment to staying focused on his craft and not get distracted by the allures of his newfound fame. One of those allures is being able to travel and visit places like the San Siro, one of the most famous football stadiums in Italy. He also may just really hate A.C. Milan and Inter Milan.
“Woman from home alone, birds all around me/
Ball so hard Arsene Wenger wanna scout me”
Also in “Money On My Mind”, this line is definitely one of Nines’ smoothest football bars. As every Arsenal fan knows, (soon-to-be former) long-time manager Arsene Wenger is an excellent judge of talent, bringing countless legends to the North London club over his tenure. Nines is paying homage to his team’s manager here, while also bragging about how hard he balls.
“Would’ve Had a Kid With You” — Loyal to the Soil
“Even though I always change women/
This one might be a keeper Like Shay given”
Any time you can name drop Shay Given in a song, you have to right? Well that’s exactly what Nines did on “Would’ve Had A Kid With You” off of Loyal To The Soil, comparing his girl to the long-time Premier League goalkeeper.
“I thought she was the special one
Like Jose Mourinho”
Nines also gives a shout-out to Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho on “Would’ve Had A Kid With You”, invoking his ‘Special One’ nickname when contemplating his past with his girl.
“All Star” — One Foot In
“The connect called me asking me if I’m likin’ the sample/
I said it’s a no go, like the striker from Arsenal”
This classic is from “All Star” off of One Foot In, Nines’ fourth mixtape. In it Nines describes his pickiness when it comes to beats (and/or drugs) while using clever word play to reference former Arsenal striker Yaya Sanogo. Sanogo, once lauded as a wunderkind by many in the Arsenal world, ultimately disappointed in his spell with the Gunners.
“I Wonder” — One Foot Out
“Wonder will Arsenal ever win the league/
Wonder why they notice my bad and not my good deeds”
Nines gets contemplative and introspective on “I Wonder” off of his debut album One Foot Out, and among many other things, he contemplates when Arsenal will win the Premier League again. As an Arsenal fan he’s endured 14 years of heartache since the Gunners won the title in the “Invincibles” season in 2004.
“Tony Soprano” — Crop Circle
Earning bare dough/
these shoes on my feet are old school Italian/
like Totti and Del Piero
Once again Nines flexes his football knowledge here, dropping Francesco Totti and Alessandro Del Piero references while bragging about his fashion style in “Tony Soprano” off of his sophomore album Crop Circle.