You may not know it yet, but NF is a force to be reckoned with. This month, Chance the Rapper’sdebut album, ‘The Big Day,’ was blocked from the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 by the rapper born Nathan John Feuerstein. The 28-year-old pulled the upset off with the release of his fifth studio album, ‘The Search,’ which moved more units than Chance’s project upon its release. Despite the massive numbers and loyal following, NF is still a relative unknown for many hip-hop fans. Here’s what you need to know about the Michigan native.
NF — who refrains from using profanity in his music — is categorized by many as a Christian rapper. His style of rapping and lyrical content have also been compared to those of Eminem. On NF’s latest album, ‘The Search,’ he addresses the importance of mental health and self-acceptance.
He denounced that label when asked about it during an interview in 2016. “I’m a Christian, but I’m just an artist. I’m a musician,” NF told Idolator. Regardless of his own clarifications, Feuerstein’s music charts in the past. He has also made several appearances on Christian hip-hop projects, like Flame’s ‘Royal Flush’ album.
As a response to a troubled childhood, NF turned to rap as an escape from reality and began recording music on a karaoke machine. Soon after, he released his debut project, ‘Moments,’ under his real name in 2010. NF has cited Eminem as a musical influence early on in his career.
The rapper hails from Gladwin, Michigan, NF says he endured a lot of hardship growing up in the Midwestern town. After his parents divorced. he lived with his mother until his father gained custody of him when her boyfriend abused him as a kid. His mother died of an overdose in 2009.
NF has often cited Eminem as a major influence on his rap career, He used to listen to the Detroit native as a child and drew inspiration from his raps. ‘It’s not like I related or thought all the things he thought of raps about, but I guess that was one of the first times I felt like I heard something that was super raw,’ he told NME in a 2017 interview.
NF has been in the game for ten years, dropping five studio albums during that time. In November 2010, he released his debut project, ‘Moments.’ In 2014, his self-titled EP, ‘NF,’ charted on Billboard’s Top Christian Albums chart at No. 12. His third album, ‘Perception,’ Landed at No. 1 ON the Billboard 200 in 2017.
Following the independent release of his 2010 project, NF caught the attention of record label Xist Music. The imprint signed him in 2012 before he dropped his next project, ‘I’m Free.’ In 2014, he signed to Capitol Christian Music Group, where he became the label’s first hip-hop signee. His latest project, ‘The Search,’ was distributed via NF Real Music and Caroline Records.
In a surprising upset, the lesser-known Michigan rapper blocked Chance’s ‘The Big Day’s from the No 1 spot on the Billboard 200 chart last month. NF’s ‘The Seach’ topped the chart after moving 130,000 album debuted at No. 2, moving 108,000 album units.
NF’s ‘The Search’ was originally projected to sell 95,000 units, but reportedly benefited from strong numbers when it came to traditional sales on iTunes and album bundles with signed merchandise from the rapper’s website. Some numbers were fully boosted by the album and concert with the redemption offer. Eighty-four thousand of the album’s 130,000 album units came from traditional sales, which is the highest number in all of the hip-hop
‘The Search’ is far from NF’s first win on the charts. In 2017, his third studio album, ‘Perception,’ debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, moving 55,000 units in its first week. Two of the album’s singles (which each reached the top 50 of the Hot 100 chart), ‘Let You Down’ and ‘Lie,’ were radio hits, earning top-10 positions on the all-genre Radio Songs chart.
Like many artists in hip-hop.NF finds that the process of making music helps to relieve stress. ‘My favorite thing to do as an artist is a record. It’s the super therapeutic thing for me,’ he told NME in 2017. ‘Not to sound corny, but it literally is a stress relief for me.’ NF said he finds touring to be the most jarring part of the business because he’s often left exhausted from traveling for shows.
In 2018, the Maryland rapper added NF to his headlining tour with Kyle. In an interview with Z100 from last year, NF recalled meeting Logic four years ahead of their joint tour. ‘I was talking to Logic’s producer side stage while he was performing and I was like, ‘Man, this is scary, ’cause, like four years ago, I did a showcase with Logic, and he just dropped his first album,’ he remembered.
Many speculated that Slim Shady was targeting NF on his 2018 single ‘The Ringer.’ On the track, Em raps: ‘It’ll help me get back to myself, and she’ll love me/I mailed the back and said if I did that/I’d be like everyone else in the fking industry/Especially an effing Recovery clone of me (NFing).’ The final line of this bar could be double entendre, but Em hasn’t confirmed NF as a target.
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