Years After Mother's Suicide, Christian Rapper NF's 'Perception' Becomes No. 1 Album in America
On Oct. 6, the day Nathan Feuerstein, a rising Christian rap artist from Michigan popularly known as "NF," released his third full-length studio album, Perception, he told his fans that he felt like it was "the beginning of something important."
"I'm being honest, the last few months leading up to this album have been some of my toughest. I wish I could say I never have doubts about myself, or the music that I put out. I wish I didn't feel like everything I do isn't good enough," the 26-year-old rapper wrote.
"I'm a perfectionist which has helped me get where I am, but it has also destroyed me in so many ways. I don't tell you these things for pity, I tell you these things because seeing the love for this album puts a smile on my face even if it's a brief one. Thank you for coming along with me on this journey. I truly feel like this moment right now is the beginning of something important not only in my personal life, but for people who feel like me. Wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you guys."
On Monday, 10 days later, Billboard announced that Perception was the No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 for the week ending Oct. 12. With 55,000 equivalent album units earned that week according to Nielsen Music, it was NF's best sales week yet.
It was the beginning of a new page for a young man who had endured the divorce of his parents, physical abuse from his mother's boyfriend and her eventual suicide. Music was his escape.
The rapper, who some fans have called the "Christian Eminem" on social media, has been seriously working on his craft since 2010. Like other breakout rappers of faith before him, including Lecrae, Feuerstein sees himself as a hip-hop artist first who happens to be a Christian.
"I mean, I'm a Christian, but I'm just an artist. I'm a musician. You know what I mean? To me it's like if you're a Christian and you're a plumber, are you a Christian plumber? That's the easiest way for me to explain it. I just make music. I talk about my life, I talk about my faith. I talk about positive things that I've dealt with that have taught me things and I talk about negative things that I'm dealing with. I wouldn't describe myself as that, but I am a Christian," he told Idolator.
He explained that even though he is signed to CMG, the Christian arm of Capitol, he believes he has made it very clear over the years that his music is for the "masses" and not just for the faith-based audience.
"At first it was lot of Christian people, but now it's a lot of people that just love hip-hop. I don't make music for Christians. I make music for everyone. I make music for the masses," Feuerstein said. "I want people to listen to my music all over the world and relate to it and feel it the way I feel it."
On Monday, he acknowledged his achievement with his latest album on Twitter.
"#1 on Billboard thanks to you guys!!Thank you to every single person involved in this album," he tweeted as fans and fellow artists congratulated him.