NF Releases First Ever Mixtape

CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE) Is The Rapper’s First Project Since 2019


Charlotte Ward, Pop Culture Editor

When most people hear the word “rap,” Eminem is probably the first name that comes to mind. The man is widely known as the greatest rapper of all time and has been in the game for a while, smashing records, spitting unbelievable bars, and creating a massive fan base. Eminem isn’t for everyone, though. Neither is the rap genre. For a lot of people, rap is too loud, and for some, it’s too difficult to make sense of a song when it’s filled with 9+ syllables per second of rapping.

I never thought that I would one day discover a very unknown rapper and get plunged headfirst into the genre, but here we are. Michigan-born rapper Nathan Feuerstein’s (known professionally as NF) music has always spoken to me in some strange way, mainly because I really can relate to what he discusses in a lot of his songs. Feuerstein blends intense rapping with enthralling singing, and his discography consists of hardcore hype songs, piano-based tear-jerkers, and everything in between. His song “Let You Down” blew up a few years ago…it’s one of the most streamed songs of all time on Spotify, and I guarantee everyone has heard “I’m sorry that I let you down, l-l-let you down” at some point, even without knowing the title.

Despite the success of “Let You Down” Feuerstein has remained an underrated and unknown artist. He is, however, a lifeboat for his steady fanbase, who caught on to the incredible talents of a very much one-of-a-kind rapper. Feuerstein doesn’t swear, ever. He also is a Christian and discusses some of his faith in his music, despite shaking off the “Christian rapper” label. His music is not for everyone, but it can appeal to all kinds of people, in fact, his initial fanbase came from non-hip hop listeners. Unfortunately, over the course of Feuerstein’s entire career, NF fans have had to deal with constant Eminem comparisons, especially after Eminem dissed Feuerstein in his song “The Ringer.” It’s not hard to see the parallels between them (white, Michigan-born, rapper), but they are both unique in their own ways. I personally have always had trouble getting into Eminem’s music, and I much prefer Feuerstein’s.

Feuerstein threw a massive curveball when he announced that his first ever mixtape would be released on March 26th, 2021. Up until that point, fans had waited for over two years for something new from the rapper, his previous project, a full length album called The Search, was released in 2019. Other than 2 singles, Feuerstein had been quiet for almost two years, teaching his fans the importance of patience for sure. We were expecting an album, and we were wrong, but not in a bad way.

CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE) consists of eleven tracks (one of which is an edited version of another), averaging out to a listening time of about 42 minutes. Typically Feuerstein’s full-length albums consist of 15-20 tracks, and he made it clear that the mixtape was not an album, just something to feed his fans while he works on his next project.

NF - CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE) Lyrics and Tracklist | Genius

The mixtape opens with “CLOUDS,” the second single Feuerstein released from the mixtape before March 26th. This track is absolutely insane, and it’s on a whole new level. What starts as a string-driven, eerie sounding, suspenseful song quickly becomes a head-banging, throw-a-chair-at-the-wall hype song. “Mixtapes aren’t my thing but it’s been awfully exhausting, hanging onto songs this long is daunting,” he says in the first verse. The flow switches in this song are unlike anything we’ve heard from Feuerstein before, the tempo or production changes when the listener least expects it. “Woo! Who are you kidding, how could you doubt me? I’ve always delivered,” Feuerstein says in the first hardcore rap part of the song. In “CLOUDS” fans can see that he’s experiencing a complete evolution, and bragging more than usual. I’m not usually a fan of bragging, but the way Feuerstein executes this song is incredible, and his brags aren’t even that bad. “See my initial thought was to wait, but what can I say? I had to come visit, check on you guys, you doin’ alright? Your year really sucked? Yeah, that’s what I figured,” he says. “CLOUDS” came with a music video that is one of Feuerstein’s best to date…the visuals are on point and the entire video is engaging. “Ain’t gotta say it, they know where my head is, they know where my head is,” he finishes, explaining that his fans and critics know that his head is oftentimes up in the clouds. This track is the perfect opening to the mixtape, it sets the tone beautifully and gets the listener hyped for what is to come. Feuerstein’s rapping is flawless, and although the song doesn’t have a concrete concept, it’s still such an enjoyable track to listen to. He does a great job changing the way his voice sounds, going from very little emotion to aggression easily.

Track two, “THAT’S A JOKE” consists of even more bragging than “CLOUDS.” Feuerstein comes in with even more awesome flow changes and rapping that is on point. The production is, as usual, cinematic, but unique in some of the sound effects used, such as a slapping sound. This track also includes a good deal of plucking, but is less string-based than “CLOUDS.” “How could you call me unskilled? That’s like looking at Mount Everest and then calling it a small hill,” Feuerstein informs the listener. To some, the punch lines in this song might be corny, but I personally don’t find them corny at all. “THAT’S A JOKE” is another aggressive track that showcases Feuerstein’s growth as a rapper. “Fool me once, shame on you! Fool me twice, shame on you! Fool me three times, hold up, rewind, that’s not even possible!” he spits, one of my favorite lyrics.

NF Official Store

While I love Feuerstein’s hype songs, most of the time I prefer his slower, more emotional ones. He has been known to discuss deep, oftentimes difficult topics in his music. Music is therapy for him, and he uses it as an outlet. The majority of his listeners found him through a slower, deeper song, and can relate to the things he deals with. The mixtape’s third track, “JUST LIKE YOU” is my favorite on the project, it’s beautiful. It is slow, raw, and emotional, and it feels like Feuerstein is speaking to his fan base or anyone else feeling alone when he tells them, “I want you to know when you’re alone and you feel afraid, you’re not the only person in the world that isn’t okay…there’s millions of us just like you.” This song is perfection, and is probably his most relatable one. The rapper advises his fans and reminds them that “everybody falls sometimes” and that “it’s the rainy days that give us love for the sun.” “JUST LIKE YOU” is one of Feuerstein’s best songs to date.

Track four, “STORY” has the best music video Feuerstein has ever done. The song? It is INTENSE, and is an entirely new type of song for him. “STORY” tells a story. In the song, Feuerstein sings from the perspective of a woman named Erin, who witnesses a shooting during a gas station convenience store robbery. The whole song is incredible. The changes in his voice, the production…flawless. “I walk out the bedroom, my roommate’s asleep on the couch with her two-faced boyfriend who don’t pay a penny for rent, but he still stays,” Feuerstein informs his listeners. The way this song is laid out is spectacular, and Feuerstein tells a whole story in a song that is a little less than five minutes long. The best part is…it’s a great story. It’s so entertaining right from the start. Feuerstein pulled a Taylor Swift, and it paid off.

NF is signing CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE) CDs | OUT MARCH 26 - YouTube

Track five, “PRIDEFUL” comes next, and is also one of my favorites on the mixtape. It sounds sort of like “Like This,” my favorite song from The Search. I was thrilled when the production gave me that vibe, and the song is relatable and well crafted. “I know myself enough to know what I need,” Feuerstein says, “Showed your true colors, I don’t like what I see.” Feuerstein sings about someone who took what they needed from him and left him there in pain. “PRIDEFUL” is another slow song, it’s calming, and much needed after quite a few more intense tracks. It’s a relatable song that I’m sure calls to a lot of listeners.

“LOST” was the third single released before the mixtape dropped. It features Hopsin, and was supposed to come out in 2020, but didn’t due to COVID-19. Let’s just say this was a collaboration I had no idea I needed. Hopsin and Feuerstein have incredible chemistry, and they split the song pretty evenly, each of them getting a lengthy verse. They discuss similar things in their music, and so the lyrics in this song are on point. “Failing’s how you grow and learn your lessons, kids!” Feuerstein says. I appreciate the fact that Hopsin did not swear at all in this song, because I know he swears a ton in his own music. He really respected Feuerstein by steering clear of curse words. “LOST” is a solid and catchy track.

“LAYERS” follows suit. Months before he announced the mixtape, Feuerstein posted a snippet of the song on his Instagram. This one was definitely worth the wait. In this track, Feuerstein comes back with more crazy flow switches and epic beat drops. He raps about how his “layers have got layers,” and demonstrates this with crazy transitions. A risk, but it was so worth it. “Toss around some concepts till I pick one, usually I don’t alter my traditions,” he explains. Altering his traditions was sure a good choice this time around, “LAYERS” is outstanding.

NF Returns With New Single "Clouds," Announces 10-Track Mixtape - Music Mayhem Magazine

Track eight is “DRIFTING,” and this one is also a wild ride. Feuerstein sings about feeling like he’s drifting through his life. What starts as a slower song ends with a loud bit of rapping. Feuerstein tricks the listener into thinking the song will just end with a soft piano outro, when it actually ends quite loudly. I love the lyrics, they’re relatable and have the ability to really speak to the listener. “It’s not a secret, I’m a puzzle, got a lot of missing pieces,” Feuerstein admits. As much as I love the concept of the song, “DRIFTING” isn’t one of my favorites (unpopular opinion), I have no idea why, I guess I just don’t like it as much sonically.

Track nine is “TRUST,” and this one is a BANGER. This song includes some of the fastest verses of Feuerstein‘s career, and features Tech N9ne. Both rappers are very underrated and talented, so them on a track together makes for an incredible experience. “Count on one hand who I trust,” Feuerstein repeats several times before Tech N9ne makes his entrance. In terms of rhyming, his verse is better, but Feuerstein wins the prize in terms of concept. The two balance each other out well. Tech N9ne also was respectful enough not to curse on Feuerstein’s track, so that is definitely commendable. “TRUST” is a song you have to listen to multiple times to fully process it – its flow switches and fast, intense rapping makes for an excellent hype song. I love it so much.

”PAID MY DUES” was the first single from the mixtape Feuerstein released back in 2019. The song initially was going to just be a single, but Feuerstein decided to add it to the track list because it fit the rest of the mixtape’s vibe. This song will always slap. It’s less new than the others, so it’s naturally lower on my list, but before the release of the full mixtape, “PAID MY DUES” was one of my favorite Feuerstein songs. He raps about a critic who said some untrue and nasty things about his album The Search. “I read your article, it kinda hurt me,” he admits. “I don’t know who hired you or what your friends say in your circle, but the fact that you released it tells me two things are for certain: they get paid for trashing people, I get paid cause I stay working.” In this song, Feuerstein shows off his rapping skills with more fast verses, and this coupled with a strong concept makes for a great track, and another great hype song. The abrupt ending makes for a solid closing to the mixtape.

NF Returns With New Single "Clouds," Announces 10-Track Mixtape - Music Mayhem Magazine

Technically, the mixtape ends with an edited version of “CLOUDS,” one that simply has less of an extended intro. If I were Feuerstein I would have simply released the edit as a single along with the full length version of “CLOUDS” so that the mixtape ends with “PAID MY DUES.” Other than that, the track list is very solid. It has a great mix of songs with crazy rapping and slower ones, making for a nice journey for the listener.

CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE) does not disappoint. Where Feuerstein truly shines in this project is his rapping – he has grown so much, and is now able to experiment with more daring flows and faster verses. Production somehow sounds the same as his previous projects (he’s used the same producers since his career began), yet different at the same time. String plucking is a theme with this mixtape, and I have to admit, it makes the songs sound more vivid than they do on his previous projects.

Every track is engaging. Feuerstein hangs onto his quality, sometimes heart-wrenching lyrics, and it once again pays off. My favorites are probably “CLOUDS,” “THAT’S A JOKE,” “JUST LIKE YOU,” and “PRIDEFUL,” but I love them all…there isn’t a single bad song on the mixtape. Although there’s not a concrete topic Feuerstein is exploring throughout the mixtape, the project as a whole is on point. Tommee Profit and Saint X produced the tracks wonderfully, and Feuerstein’s attention to detail is apparent on every track…you can see how involved he is in the creation of his music.


CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE) is an evolution for Feuerstein, but at the same time, he brings his typical grind, strong lyrics, and epic flows to the project, so it’s easy to tell it’s him. He has instant identity as an artist.

And yes, this was definitely worth the wait.