A while back I shared about a fav musician of mine that I love to listen to. So I thought today I would share about another artist.
Nathan Feuerstein (aka) NF.
I didn’t really start listening to NF, until the summer of 2016. One of my brothers had purchased both of his albums that were out at the time, and somehow I ended up listening to nothing but those two albums on repeat for the next few days.
It’s funny because the rap genre isn’t necessarily my go to. I’m a sucker for poetic lyrics, acoustic instruments, and slower songs generally.
But, I did grow up with a love for rap. When in the car with my Dad, or doing yard work with him, his choice of music was usually artists like Lecrae or KJ-52. I remember on one road trip, my Dad and I had dowloaded Lecrae’s album that had just come out, and we listened to the whole thing in order twice. Analyzing beats and lyrics and picking our favorite tracks.
So I have a love for rap somewhere in there. And there’s something about NF’s music that is just so … gosh I don’t know. It captivates you and by the end of a song, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll either have goosebumps all over your arms, or you’ll have enough energy to sprint up a mountain.
NF is an odd one. His songs are … beautiful? Dramatic? Epic?
He’s got some slower ones that are genuinely super pretty. But his music isn’t happy. The lyrics hit you right in the heart a thousand times over. He nails emotions, situations, thoughts you didn’t think anyone else thought. The combination of raw and real words with the right beat and tune is enough to make you want to jump and scream the words.
His music is heavy. It’s dark, moody, and aggressive. His branding, his whole message, is “realmusic”. How real he is with every song, every album. Each song is raw with an emotion, whether that be anger, passion, depression, grief, etc.
Nathan is a Christian, but he doesn’t label himself as a Christian Rapper which I actually love. In his songs he has no problem saying that God gave him this gift, and that he has God to thank for where he’s gotten today.
“Christian is not the definition of a perfect me”
– Therapy Session
But he won’t put himself under that label, and limit his audience to just Christians. His third album was released towards the end of 2017 and his single ‘Let You Down’ blew up. It was everywhere. Which is crazy because since when does a “christian song” play in malls and on radio stations?
“This music is not just for the people who sit in the pews and pray at the churches.”
– Therapy Session
Another thing I admire about him is the way he handles his “fame”. He has gotten more and more popular with each album, and something tells me this fourth album is going to blow up. Because he’s got a lot of people’s attention now.
In one of his singles released in 2018 he had the following lyric:
“Fame called me,
I’m like ‘how you doin’?’
Hung up on him,
I ain’t ready for it,
I’ll get back to that when I make album four”
After a hiatus of almost two years since his last album, NF just came back with a single and a music video. It came out of nowhere and everyone pretty much lost their minds (myself included). The song had a new beat, a new vibe. But in the back you could hear the haunting tunes of previous songs. There was no doubt that it was NF.
In this song, there was a lyric that reminded me of the one from NO NAME.
“Got a taste of fame,
And it pumped my stomach,
Throw it back up like, I don’t want it.”
The fact that’s he’s admitting he knows he’s getting up there, that fame is around the corner, while stating that he doesn’t care about it, that he doesn’t want it, makes me love and appreciate him all the more.
In his song ‘Therapy Session’ (one of my all time favs) he talks about how writing music is his therapy. It’s how he expresses himself, processes and puts it all out there, for anyone to hear and know.
He talks rather bluntly about how people bash him for his gritty lyrics and brutal tones. But he says he won’t write a happy rap just because some people would prefer that over the songs he is making.
Because the people in the audience of his concerts aren’t smiling.
They’re screaming his lyrics back at him.
He ties it up, by acknowledging that yes, his lyrics are dark and aggressive. But he tells them that they wouldn’t expect flowers and smiles if they were to walk into a therapy session, so why do they expect that kind of stuff from him and his concerts when that’s exactly what it all is? Therapy.
His lyrics are insane. The play on words, the raw truths, and just how real he is. I wanted to share some of my favorites lyrics from him, and if I’m being honest I was tempted to just copy and paste every song, because it’s impossible to pick out just a few lines from four minutes where the man doesn’t take a breath.
Keep in mind, that while yes, some lyrics are stunning and powerful on their own, half of the art is pairing the right words with the right beat and timing. The combination of the words, the tone of voice, the speed or volume in which he speaks them, and how intense or erratic the instruments are, are what make each line cut into you, and stick with you. So read away, but I highly recommend listening to the words too.
“My mind is a house with walls, covered in paint
See my problem is I don’t fix things, I just try to repaint,
Cover ’em up like it never happened,
Say I wish I could change,
Are you confused? Come upstairs and I’ll show you what I mean,
This room’s full of regrets, just keeps getting fuller it seems,
The moment I walk into it, is the same moment I want to leave,
I get sick to my stomach, every time I look at these things,
But it’s hard to look past, when this is the room where I sleep.”
“Church is where I found God,
But it’s also where I learned to judge.”
–10 Feet Down (Perception)
“Just think about it for a second,
If you look at your face,
Everyday when you get up,
And think you’ll never be great,
You’ll never be great – not because you’re not,
But the hate will always find a way,
To cut you up and murder your faith”
–The Search (The Search)
“Yeah anger’s a liar, He ain’t got no respect,
I fell in love with my pain, And I slept with my regrets,
Happiness saw it happen, Maybe that’s why she up and left,
Joy called me a cheater, Said she ain’t ever coming back,
I’ve always had a problem with relationships,
But that’s what happens when you see the world through a broken lens.”
–Remember This (Perception)
“I always put up my guard,
Even when talking to God.”
“You spend your life in a dream that you can’t escape,
‘Cause you live your life in a coma,
You’re never awake,
If you’d open your eyes then maybe you’d see what’s at stake.”
–Wake up (NF)
“You might get other doors to open up,
But this doors not,
Because I don’t want to you to have the opportunity to hurt me,
And I’ll be the only person that I can blame when you desert me,
I’m barricaded inside, so stop watching,
I’m not coming to the door, so stop knocking, stop knocking,
I’m trapped here, God keeps saying I’m not locked in,
I chose this, I am lost to my own conscious,
I know that shutting the world out ain’t solving the problem,
But I didn’t build this house because I thought it would solve ’em,
I built it because I thought that it was safer in there,
But it’s not,
I’m not the only thing that’s living in here…”
“Everyone will sleep in the pews,
Then blame God for our problems like He’s sleeping on you,
We turn our backs on Him, what do you expect Him to do?
It’s hard to answer prayers when nobody’s praying to you.”
–Oh Lord (Therapy Session)
“I talk to God like “What’s next for me?”
I’m just fulfilling my destiny
To the death of me,
I’m just fulfilling my destiny.”
“I look at the world from a different angle,
People change, even Satan used to be an angel,
Think twice before you’re bitin’ on the hand that made you,
Don’t believe what you believe just ’cause that’s how they raised you,
Think your own thoughts, Don’t let them do it for you,
Say you want a drink, Don’t wait for people to pour it on you,
Cut out the lies, Stay close to people you know are loyal,
Grab your own glass and fill it,
Don’t let your fear destroy you.”
–Remember This (Perception)
Sometimes you just need to let someone else get angry for you so you can let things go. And Nathan’s just so good at putting feelings into sentences and you can’t help but get goosebumps.
I could talk, rant, about all my favorite things about this incredible man and his talent that has seriously shaken up the music industry recently. But I’ll leave it there.
Even if you don’t enjoy rap, give NF a listen. At least to listen to the words. The man has a gift and wow. He is using it in all the right ways.
nf songs i hold very close to my heart:
(basically a lot of the slower songs)