A Strong Introduction
Posted August 18, 2014
By MarkRyan_NRT, Staff Reviewer
After a hiatus following his independently released EP in 2011, NF is back, signed to Capitol CMG as their first hip-hop artist and with a brand new, self-titled EP. What we have here is a raw rapper with a penchant for lyricism and, as an added bonus, he can sing his own hooks.
The album starts with "All I Have." The song impressed me from the start, and his lyrical flow and ability to play with words and build a story had me listening extra critically. This song was a good start; it lacks theological depth, but in a way this makes NF real to who he is. He was never an intense theologian in the line of Shai Linne or the guys from Beautiful Eulogy, and being signed to such a major label, it is nice to see that they allowed him to stay true to himself.
"Wake Up" starts with a tender moment where NF continues to show his versatility as rapper and singer. The song speaks to the way that a lot of us live our lives: operating in a dream state, working hard to fulfill a phony dream, and then all of a sudden it is too late and life is over. It is a call to wake up to the reality of who we are and who God made us to be.
A small piece of humor to start "Hands Up" leads quickly to the punchline. The song is intense and not as laid back as the lead in to the joke may imply. NF shows off his lyricism in this track, and you begin to appreciate the amount of talent this young man from Michigan has.
"Only One" feels out of place on the album. It is a EDM love song that would be more suited to NRTRadio Remix than Jam The Hype. The song about true love is juxtaposed against "Thing Called Love." This track is deeply brooding, and the lyrics speak about how love hurts and kills. This song is raw. The pain of NF's past are what shape this song, and he eloquently delivers his intense pain through his lyrics so that we can feel it with him. Whether it is a lost loved one, abuse or divorce, this song will speak to you where you are at. At the end, the redemptive nature of Christ is the one minute of real love that can erase a lifetime of false love.
I thought of The Terminator when I heard "Just Being Me." The track goes in hard and doesn't let up. The album started with NF talking about how he is giving all he has, how this is about him being himself. This perfectly frames the message that NF is trying to get across to his audience, old and new.
I feel like the album is self-titled is not just because the folks at Capitol wanted NF's name out there: it truly is the theme of the album. If you have not heard of NF, then let this be his introductory calling card to you. I went back and listened to the older music he released, and he stays true to his style in this album. He is full of raw emotion, yet instead of letting the emotion destroy himself and others, he has chosen to use the power of God in his life to share his pain in a way to minister to others.
Song to Download Now:
"All I Have" (Get it on iTunes here.)
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