NF’s “Perception” slays industry

LEZIGA BARIKOR, Campus Life Editor

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Early Friday morning, Oct. 6, Christian rap artist Nathan “NF” Feurstein dropped his new highly anticipated album “Perception,” and it quickly claimed the top spot on the U.S. iTunes store over recently departed Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ “Greatest Hits” collection. The album has now become NF’s first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart.

“Perception’s” track listing follows that of NF’s previous discography by having an intro track but differs in that there is an outro track. Also, as a sign of what would be different in this new studio release, NF released “Outro” first, instead of “Intro III,” as has been his previous tradition.

The album maintains the same graphic imagery, fast lyrics and dark humor that fans have gotten used to from “Mansion” and “Therapy Session.” And with every new track, “Real Music” NF delivers his brand promise of going deep in discussing the raw areas of life. Although this album clearly shows an evolutional period in NF’s music, the additional songs that make this a 16-track album is only one of the many differences fans can get excited about.

Addressing the signature “Intro III” track that sets the pace for the album, it can be described as only one thing — a triumph. This song sees NF doing something not done before in his music: playing a character. NF has sung before about being in a struggle against his fears, and as he raps from his personified “Fear’s” perspective, listeners get a better glimpse into the struggles that went into making this album after the coattails of his previous success.

A recurring theme in NF’s music is his lack of impress at the Hollywood fame lifestyle and what the haters have to say about him. Throughout the album, NF rejects the notions that he has to fit in the box of what pop culture and, in many ways, Christian culture says he has to reside.

For an artist signed to Capitol CMG, the largest, most influential Christian music record label, NF has never shown much interest or disappointment in not fitting into the mold. His newest music video release from the album, “Outcast,” shows him proudly accepting all the things that make his brand and music unique.

To sum it up from the track “10 Feet Down,” NF raps, “I’ve always been motivated by comments from people tellin’ me / Things they think I’ll never be, and then I become it, this is my everything.”

Along those lines, “Perception” is not lacking in the area of hype. NF holds nothing back as he boasts on the love from his fans and success of his last album. But tempered with deep introspection, he also doesn’t shy away from admitting how all his success made him afraid of failure.

Fans will no doubt find motivation in the fast beats, double entendres and comical dark story-telling they’ve come to know from NF. The only difference is the notch has been turned up as NF says in the final track, “See there’s levels of music — and I’m in the elevator / going up to the top floor, look how we elevated.”

From varying songs that bring the heat to songs that leave listeners with chills, “Perception” is a success in the new era of NF music. It dives into his family issues and his personal fears, and his personality is evident through it all. Although the singer-songwriter tells listeners to “check the morgue” for the old him, there’s no need — NF is the same creative innovator of the Christian rap industry from where he started.

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