My Favorite Artist of 2021: NF

NF.

In 2021, I largely listened to a lot of the same music from 2020 because let’s be honest, we all need our comfort food. Literally, when Spotify did its year-end wrap for 2021, my year-end playlist was virtually identical to my year-end list in 2020. To be fair, I didn’t use Spotify as much in 2021 and that’s because I was listening to someone else on YouTube … NF.

I first started listening to NF, a relatively new but prolific American rapper, and even turned that listen into its own blog post, through the song, “Options,” recommended to me by a friend. The chorus, “I gotta make it or make it/Man these are the options, these are the options,” became something of a mantra for me and at the right time as I was diving into therapy and recovering from severe depression and suicidal ideation.

From there, I started listening to more of his songs. His second album released in 2016, Therapy Session, has a good number of them, including the namesake of the album, but also, “I Just Wanna Know,” “Breathe,” “Grindin’,” and a song you must listen to if you ignore every other recommendation, “How Could You Leave Us.”

In the latter song, NF raps about his mother, who like the song notes, legitimately overdosed on prescription pills. It’s a heartbreaking song, with a lot of genuine and raw emotion from NF.

“Crying my eyes out in the studio is difficult/Music is the only place that I can go to speak to you.”

Through the song, “Therapy Session,” and the album itself, the basic theme is in those above lyrics: NF uses music as his therapeutic outlet. His lyrics are both poignant and “clean,” which I dig. I don’t mind cursing in my music, but I do enjoy someone who can get a point across without it, as NF does.

Another song I latched onto heavily when I first listened to NF after I wore out, “Options,” as one does, was, “When I Grow Up.”

The beat in that one is so fun, plus more good lyrics.

“Story” is another notable one with a rare recommendation from me to actually watch the music video rather than merely listen to it; the first time I did that, I got goosebumps. It’s an epic the likes of Eminem’s, “Stan.”

Of course, there’s his more popular and mainstream ones, such as, “Let You Down,” “The Search,” and, “Lie,” all of which I love, too.

It’s funny; for those who don’t know, I’m an obsessed pro wrestling fan. I’d been watching WWE’s Monday Night Raw for months before I realized (only after getting into NF) that it was NF’s song, “The Search,” as the theme song for the show. I had no idea, ha.

Anyhow, if you’re looking for a new artist, one of my favorites who I will continue listening to into 2022 and beyond is NF. Even if you’re not usually into rap or hip hop, I think you’ll find something to relate to from NF’s raw, honest and unfiltered (but clean) music.

If you’re already into NF and one of your favorite songs of his isn’t among my recommendations, what is it?! If I haven’t listened to it, I’d love to.

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