It would be wonderful to do research for a review without the first thing I learn about the rapper in question being that he won’t be out of jail until 2028. At least as far as 9lokkNine (born Jacquavius Dennard Smith) the reasons why could’ve been much worse. He wasn’t convicted of homicide, rape, DUI, aggravated robbery, or treason. What did they bust Nine for? He fraudulently obtained government funding meant to help people during the global pandemic. Don’t get me wrong — that’s shady as fuck that he took money he wasn’t entitled to — but given the possible things you could be doing a long bid for I’m grateful it boils down to fraud.

Nine was still a young man on the rise in 2018 when “Bloodshells Revenge” came out, with a haircut that looked like Sideshow Bob and cover art to match. He hasn’t signed with Cash Money Records yet, he hadn’t done his Billboard charting duet “223’s” with YNW Melly yet, and if the release date is accurate he hadn’t even turned 18 yet. I don’t think anyone from any walk of life should have to do a prison bid to mature into manhood, but I can’t help but think Nine was another young man without positive role models in his life who suddenly accumulated fame and fortune out of proportion to his previous experiences. There’s a almost innocent and silly charm to songs/videos like “Fish Hook” where he’s literally reeling in Benjamins while mean mugging in a hot tub.

The curiosity of “Chain Gang” is that Nine wound up foreshadowing future events. There’s no mistaking it from the thumbnail even if you don’t play the clip or listen to the song. He’s behind bars. The whole “gang” here is having a party in prison. Now it looks like it’s an abandoned facility, and none of the cells are locked down, but it’s still a scene he’s probably all too familiar with now. He was also well aware of the danger of his words being used against him in the future. “Matter fact I’m off a bid, I know you miss me boo/but I can’t tell you what I did, them crackers listen too.”

For me “Bloodshells Revenge” walks a narrow path between interesting and cliche. Nothing the young Mr. Smith says on this album breaks new ground, but as so often happens these days, I like a rapper more when he’s actually rapping on his shit. This is a Floridian rapper through and through, who probably grew up inspired by the likes of Trick Daddy, Rick Ross and Ace Hood, determined to become a success in the music business the way they did. You can’t deny his confidence or swagger about those plans on songs like “I Don’t Need No Help.” He’s tired of a life where he “took too many L’s” and he’s going to will a better future into existence through words alone.

Unfortunately by taking a shortcut during a time of crisis he took an even bigger L than any he had ever taken in the past. I’m hopeful he’ll get his sentence reduced for being a non-violent offender and/or being a model prisoner, and with that life experience under his belt he might even offer some cautionary tales to other young men seeking the same come up. I admire his determination but I want to see something more when he’s back in the game again. I sense his potential and look forward to what’s coming next.

9lokkNine :: Bloodshells Revenge
6.5Overall Score