The following originally appeared on NewReleaseToday.com and is used with permission.
For the first time since March of 2021, NF blessed his fanbase with new music. The first single and title track off his next project, “Hope,” was released on Thursday, February 16. The album will release on April 7. Five projects ago, Mansion was released in 2015. For the past eight years, Nate Feuerstein has been on a personal, emotional journey, riddled with despair, depression, hopelessness, and anger. NF has always appeared completely in black. His flow has been tagged as aggressive. The concept of hope was never associated with the Dove Award-winning rapper; until now.
His sixth studio album and latest artistry carry a new message. One of closure. One of forgiveness. One of new beginnings. NF became a father, welcoming the arrival of a son in August of 2021. As a dad myself, fatherhood changes perspective as does age. NF celebrated his 30th birthday back in 2021, only a few weeks after the Clouds mixtape was released. NF himself references a similar change. “Having kids will make you really take a step back and look in the mirror / At least for me, that’s what I did / I wake up every day and pick my son up / Hold him in my arms and let him know he’s loved (loved).” Fatherhood brought forth hope in a particular aspect.
The latest track, “Hope,” provides exactly that. A sense of a new chapter to begin.
Near the start of the song, Nate says, “Don’t get me wrong, Nate, you’ve had a great run / But it’s time to give the people somethin’ different / So without further ado, I’d like to introduce my album (repeated) — HOPE.” Different indeed, as positivity, encouragement, and hope are not concepts NF has been accustomed to experiencing.
NF goes on to present a lyrical Ted Talk-like breakdown of what success is defined as. Listen to your heart, stand up for what’s right, create something different, dream big, and work endlessly until success is achieved. Nate continues with one bar after enough smothered in encouragement, hopefulness, and happiness. Wait, what? Does Mr. Depression have a new theme song? Yes, fans are treated to a brand-new version of NF. One sick of the past and ready to embrace new beginnings.
Previously, NF has tip-toed around the idea of forgiving his mother for a treacherous childhood. However, another form of hope arrives in a bold statement. “Don’t get it twisted, that wasn’t a shot / Mama, I forgive you,” exclaims Nate plain and simple. Short, yet profound; especially for those who have followed Nate’s musical journey from Mansion until now. If hope is one major theme, then closure proceeds closely behind.
During the scenes of the mansion–giving fans a visual glimpse of a song that never received the music video treatment–NF closes the doors of a room filled with black balloons. Such imagery is associated with the issues (burdens) he has carried heavily since childhood. Then, he shuts the doors of the cell-filled room. Imprisoned, we find an older version of himself withering away. An ode to the Perception album with a nod to victory no longer being caged in darkness and negativity. The fact he’s dressed in all white for the first time offers direction away from the demons of old. The track wraps up with an emotional exchange of bars between the new and old self. Good and evil. Darkness and light. Thirty years of struggle ending in hope. A new direction. A different version of NF, one I’m sure fans will discover the messy details unfold once the album drops in April.
Stepping back, we asked if NF does truly bring hope into the conversations his music conveys. After a quick breakdown of the lyrics “Hope” provided, it’s easily communicated we’re treated to a new version of NF. Someone focused on the future. An individual closing, but still wrestling with, a life-long chapter of despair, and accepting an equally long journey into the light.
Hope is the new identity of NF and I’m here for it.