NF: Therapy Session

Occasionally a Christian concept album comes along which opens an honest and eloquent door into an artist’s personal life. Bob Bennett’s Songs from Bright Avenue (concerning his divorce) and Billy Sprague’s Torn between Two Worlds (about his fiancée’s death) come to mind. This is one of those albums. The album cover says it all: Nate “NF” Feuerstein sits in two chairs with his stage persona talking to his “real” self. Rap music is uniquely suited to extended introspection since its syllable-spitting rhythms allow for so many words per minute, and per song. The overall effect is powerful, and even overpowering, as NF works through the consequences of his mother’s pill addiction, made all the more distressing when he never thinks to bring the gospel to bear on his situation. Track titles like “Got You on My Mind,” “Wish You Wouldn’t,” and especially “How Could You Leave Us?” carry the theme. Feel-good froth this ain’t. NF’s visual style and rolling rhyme-spitting show a clear debt to Eminem, another artist known for musical catharsis.

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