I am always shocked to hear how many people have never heard of NF before. He is signed to Capitol CMG, has a platinum album (Perception), and over 11 million monthly listeners on Spotify. Nathan Feuerstein, aka NF, is a rapper that will take you down a deep path of thought and emotion, and in my opinion is one of the last standing true, lyrical rappers. If you have never heard him before, head over to his page and listen to the songs on his NF Real Music playlist. You can also find it on Spotify. You might just find your new favorite artist, and one that you’ll be hyped to know has a new album, The Search, dropping this Friday, the 26th. Let’s get into it!
This song, The Search, is complete with deep lyrics, a fiery energy, a sick beat, a great story, freestyle flow, and countless drops. Lyrics provided by Genius:
“Hey, Nate, how’s life?”
I don’t know, it’s alright
I’ve been dealin’ with some things like every human being
And really didn’t sleep much last night
“I’m sorry,” that’s fine
I just think I need a little me time
I just think I need a little free time
Little break from the shows and the bus rides, yeah
Last year I had a breakdown
Thoughts tellin’ me I’m lost gettin’ too loud
Had to see a therapist, then I found out
Somethin’ funny’s goin’ on up in my house
Yeah, I started thinkin’ maybe I should move out
You know, pack my cart, take a new route
Clean up my yard, get the noose out
Hang up my heart, let it air out
I’ve been searchin’
“What does that mean, Nate?” I’ve been learning
Grabbin’ my keepsakes, leavin’ my burdens
Well, I brought a few with me, I’m not perfect
Lookin’ at the view, like this concerns me
Pickin’ up the cues, right? I’m quite nervous
Hate it when I lose sight, life gets blurry
And things might hurt me
It’s prolly gonna be a long journey, but hey
It’s worth it, though
Cold world out there, kids, grab your coat
It’s been a minute, I know, now I’m back to roam
Lookin’ for the antidote to crack the code
Pretty vivid; I admit it, I’m in classic mode
Don’t need pity given to me, but I can’t condone
Talkin’ down to me, I’ma have to crack your nose for crackin’ jokes
I’m lookin’ for the map to hope, you seen it?
I love this line and how clear he is about what his “search” is. By saying he is looking for the map to hope, he is clear in his belief that he wants to put his own hand to it and work toward it, he just needs that verification that he’s on the right path. 1 Corinthians 13:13 says that three things will last forever: Faith, Hope, and love. The greatest is love. NF has the understanding that these are the things he should seek after considering everything else in life is fleeting.
Been makin’ a whole lot of changes
Wrote a song about that, you should play it
I get scared when I walk on these stages
I look at the crowd and see so many faces, yeah
That’s when I start to get anxious
That’s when my thoughts can be dangerous
That’s when I put on my makeup and drown in self-hatred
Forget what I’m saying, and—
Where’d the beat go?
Oh, ain’t that somethin’?
Drums came in, you ain’t see that comin’
Hands on my head, can’t tell me nothin’
Got a taste of the fame, had to pump my stomach
Throw it back up like I don’t want it
Wipe my face, clean off my vomit
OCD, tryna push my buttons
I said don’t touch it, now y’all done it
OCD is widely misunderstood. Back in 2005, MTV’s True Life aired an episode titled “I Have OCD.” The show featured various people performing different rituals as a way to relieve their anxiety. This is mixed up with OCPD (Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder) which is more ritualistic, and is different from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), which is more thought-based.
In OCD, people have what are called cognitive distortions, or automatic negatives. They are attempts to impose order on what they deem a disturbing world. Things like catastrophic thinking, black and white thinking, over-generalizing, ignoring positives, perfectionism, needing certainty, mistaking thoughts for things, and trying to control thoughts are all common compulsions for an OCD brain. NF is very open about these kinds of thoughts and are likely what drive his energy as he works to create order in his world. OCD often comes through to people as intensely organized and detailed, which are great things, and they are driven by that need for order.
I can be critical, never typical
Intricate with every syllable, I’m a criminal
Intimate, but never political, pretty visual
Even if you hate it, I’ll make it feel like you’re in it, though
You call me what you wanna, but never call me forgettable
Leave you deep in thought, I could never swim in the kiddie pool
Way that I been thinkin’ is cinematic, it’s beautiful
Man, I don’t know if I’m makin’ movies or music videos (Videos, videos)
This next part brings me chills. When I first heard it I stopped in my tracks because I was in the middle of trying to do that very thing with an anxious state I was in: “try to hold it under water but it always survives..” This outlines his difficulty with acceptance of whatever thoughts he is having, and the acceptance of disorder in his world.
Yeah, the sales can rise
Doesn’t mean much though when your health declines
See, we’ve all got somethin’ that we trapped inside
That we try to suffocate, you know, hopin’ it dies
Try to hold it underwater but it always survives
Then it comes up out of nowhere like an evil surprise
Then it hovers over you to tell you millions of lies
You don’t relate to that? Must not be as crazy as I am
That part makes me feel so empowered. Ok, yeah, I go through some things and you know what, I’m good with that. Guess I’m crazy but at least I’m trying to make it into something.
The point I’m makin’ is the mind is a powerful place
And what you feed it can affect you in a powerful way
It’s pretty cool, right? Yeah, but it’s not always safe
Just hang with me, this’ll only take a moment, okay?
Just think about it for a second, if you look at your face
Every day 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 (Woo)
If you aren’t on your feet after that..whew.
I’ve been developin’, take a look at the benefits
Nothin’ to meddle with, I can never be delicate
Am I even relevant? That depends how you measure it
Take a measurement, then bag it up and give me the evidence
Pretty evident; dependable can never be tentative
I’m a gentleman, depending on if I think you’re genuine
I also relate to this personally. NF is clearly not a fan of facades, vanity, or plasticity. He respects you if you are genuine. I have a really hard time connecting with people I feel are counterfeit. He brings such realness that he expects the same in return.
Pretty elegant, but not afraid to tell you to get a grip
Proper etiquette, I keep it to myself when I celebrate, ah
There again, he respects himself as he celebrates with humility. Another way he likely hopes others will show this kind of restraint.
It’s that time again
Better grab your balloons and invite your friends
Seatbelts back on, yeah, strap ’em in
Look at me, everybody, I’m smilin’ big
On a road right now that I can’t predict
Tell me “Tone that down,” but I can’t resist
Y’all know that sound, better raise your fist
The search begins, I’m back, so enjoy the trip, huh
I believe that NF is a genius, and what he is sharing can change lives through his courage and openness.