Written Before Listen
So If you don’t know, NF is a hip hop artist hailing from Michigan. He is an artist that I’ve never really gotten into personally. I dont think he is a gimmick or anything because he makes some serious music. Its his overall formulaic approach to every song of his. Similar flows, similar vibe, similar production and similar everything. He also seems to stick to his influences super strongly. Other than that, I’ve never actually given any of his projects a fair chance so I thought it would be fun to look into a full project of his. This time a mixtape. Let’s see what he has in store
So the beats on here are produced by Tommee Profitt. Every beat has the same formulaic instrumental palette. Orchestral arrangements with generic horn hits and chord progressions that build like a post-rock song but its actually so predictable and artificial instead of having the raw and emotional energy that a post-rock song brings. There is really nothing super impressive other than the mixing because the mixing is kind of nice.
So lyrically, NF is pretty lyrical. Its pretty prevalent from his flows, cadences and rhyme schemes that he is a student of the more lyrical spectrum of hip hop. He is bound to have some check the rhyme videos but do these lyrics really mean that much? Not really. Its not nonsense or anything but nothing thats deeper than the rhymes themselves. He actually pokes fun of this concept on “THATS A JOKE” and talks about how people see him as a joke. He is utterly begging to be taken seriously which is a valid point. If thats the case, I’m serious when I say that he is corny and pretentious. “JUST LIKE YOU” is his “pop” song and its him giving into his other formulaic structure which is the piano based chorus and when the drum kicks in, its time for an introspective verse. It keeps on going for two or three more times and there you have a song. The song “STORY” is probably a favorite on here because his ability to tell a vivid story. Its truly one hell of a storytelling song but even then, it feels like one of those YouTube songs from a rapper who made his buzz off of YouTube. “Prideful” is another track that I actually enjoy with its laid back trap beat and vibrant flows and choruses. “Lost” and “Trust” have the two features on here being Hopsin and Tech N9ne. NF….word of advice, if you don’t want to have comparisons to Eminem, don’t have Hopsin and Tech N9ne on your album kid. Yeah, his lyrics are nothing more than technicality over art which doesnt prove anything in hip hop. At least personally.
Ok….We all know the one influence that he has. Everyone makes it and I’m another. Eminem. Me not being a fan of Eminems new stuff, im here saying that im not a fan of NFs music either. It would be ok to have Eminem as an influence but he drenches himself with it. Its not even the rhyme patterns and flows. Its the production, the clothing the whole persona of NF is an Eminem inspired rapper. Theres a difference from being influenced and taking influences. NF is for sure the latter. There is no way to sugarcoat it whatsoever either. He can say himself that his main influence is Eminem. Sure there are some times where his flows are similar to Drake or Kendrick but his main influence will always and forever will be Eminem.
Well….the simple way to put his style is that he raps over orchestral beats with strings,piano and horns. Yeah thats fine but its how its done. The pianos are always drenched in artificial reverb and always sound inauthentic and artificial. There are choirs that also sound drenched in reverb and manipulation until it sounds like some generic one shot. The drums are usually generic as well never being manipulated or formatted into a new idea that doesnt shy away from the drums in contemporary music. There are also a lot of horn one shots that you can get from any free Lex Luger pack on reddit. No matter what, there are ALWAYS strings that are also reverbed to death and never sounding like a real orchestra. NF himself always brings comprehension, introspection and super forced rhymes into his pen game. A lot of the times it sounds like the same track. I know that people like the Ramones, Napalm Death and AC/DC could be accused of making the same tracks. There is a difference, it seems more intentional and it’s way more enjoyable. This actually pissed me off so much that I made it a formal category.
Honestly, the only track I can say that I enjoyed beginning to end is “STORY” and even then, it is kind of delivered in a pretty corny and forced way. I also liked “Prideful” despite it being a Drake rip-off. Other than that, there is really no track that I rather enjoyed or stuck.
God…..this was pretty bad. Like I can obviously see the hype for NF and its clear as day but his style is so wallpaper and predictable that I can’t really take it seriously. The production, the lyrics, the rhymes, the topics everything seems like recycled ideas. Its pure redundancy. Nothing more, nothing less.