No Name

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Kristin Smith

Album Review

NF just dropped another single.

With his third album, Perception, landing at No. 1 on the Billboard chart fewer than four months ago, this increasingly high-profile Christian rapper is back again with another round of fast-paced and energetic rhymes.

And this time around, NF (short for Nate Feuerstein) refuses to be a “No Name” as he gives fans a window into what could be a track from a future album.

‘What Is My Purpose?’

In “No Name,” NF shares some passionate, personal thoughts in a video that shows him shuffling up an urban alleyway. The grey gloom that clouds the sky in some ways mirrors his melancholy frame of mind as NF raps about fame, the future and finding meaning in life. As the camera focuses on his skinny jeans, black hoodie and beanie, blowing garbage litters the street, giving the video a raw feel. Amid that drudgery, NF unleashes all he has to offer.

“Look, people ask me what the future is,” he begins with his trademark rapid-fire style (one that can’t help but bring Eminem to mind). “All I know is I’ll be doin’ this.” And when others want to throw shade, he replies, “You don’t like me, that makes two of us,” even as he recognizes that who he’s becoming is more important that who he has been: “Yo, it’s who you are, not who you was.”

NF insists that he’s changing and growing. “I think I’m learning, I am way more than people might think/When they look on the surface.” So what’s under the surface? An artist who’s asking, “What is my purpose?” His answer is a humble one: “That is a question that I have been asking myself and it hurts,” he says, “‘Cause it’s prolly something I should already know but I don’t know it yet.” But, NF adds, “I’m tryna grow as a person.” And he wants the world to know that “a “better me is what I’m workin’ towards.”

All that said, he also admits that he still struggles to shake some of the negativity that’s been prevalent throughout his career. NF often wakes up thinking, “I’ma have a bad day.” He confesses that he sometimes metaphorically attacks his thoughts “with an AK,” and that he still occasionally feels “insane.” Sometimes, he says, he even struggles to be open with God: “I always put up my guard/Even when talkin’ to God.” Ditto with fans: “I don’t’ come out and take pictures/ … I don’t smile in VIPs.”

But he also admits he’s trying to be less critical these days: “I used to judge everybody that wasn’t like me ’til I learned it was wrong.” He says that his girlfriend is helping him “get out the dark” as he tries to “give her my heart.” In the end, he raps, “I leave it all on the stage.”

A Different Breed

Rap can be controversial. Many hip-hop artists fill their lyrics with the objectification of women, or brag about everything their money can buy. But not NF.

In a recent article from Forbes, writer Hugh McIntyre talked about how NF’s disrupting the system: “It’s not typical for a musician to score a No. 1 album without a serious hit single,” he says. But this 26-year-old rapper who hails from Gladwin, Michigan, has done it. McIntyre adds, “NF’s success speaks to what can be done these days outside of the traditional system of creating stars and smashes.”

While that “traditional system” tends to be filled with vulgarity and cringe worthy lines in the rap world, NF combats his genre’s norm with a captivating lyrical style packed with real emotions and honest confessions. And to any haters predicting that he’ll fall off the charts sometime soon, he says that if you want to call him “a no name,” you’d better think twice.

Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).

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