Reviewed by Lins Honeyman
For all intents and purposes, the fourth album by American rapper Nathan Feuerstein - stage name NF - is very much a concept album built around the artist's evidently substantial mental health issues. As you would expect, this is heavy stuff but hats off to Feuerstein for telling it like it is with absolutely no sugar-coating the uncomfortable bits. Despite it hitting the Billboard 200 chart at number one, reaction has been mixed with some critics citing NF's latest piece as "an unpleasant ride" or, at worst, reading "like a suicide note" and, whilst it's true that this isn't an album you'd put on to lift yourself out of a funk, it's rare even in this day and age of introspective chart fodder to find someone willing to lay mental health issues such as self-harm, crippling anxiety, paranoia and such like so out in the open. It seems that NF's issues largely stem from a severely dysfunctional, abusive and ultimately tragic family situation plus an unpreparedness to deal with the fame and fortune brought on by his fairly seismic mainstream success and, at times, his dwelling on the latter does come across as somewhat ungracious given that millions of his fans would probably like a slice of the money and adulation he's received in recent years. That aside, NF's in-your-face style of rapping - very much in the vein of his childhood hero Eminem - gives a bold directness to proceedings and the album's stand out track "Nate", where our man effectively talks to his younger self, is nothing short of a masterpiece whilst containing this undoubtedly distressing release's only glimmer of hope with the line "if you've got questions and need advice then talk to God cos he's the only one that listens even when you think he isn't."
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