We won’t mention Christianity, okay. Because having been labelled a “Christian rapper” in the US, Nathan Feuerstein alias NF recently decided to set the record straight: yes, he believes in God, but no he won’t be evangelising to his fans via his music. Look at Perception, put its religious connotations aside, and it’s a classic rap album, with an ultra-technical flow, that is as much about ego tripping as a jerky narrative of his traumatised past (a dark childhood in the depths of Michigan, mother dead from an overdose, sexual abuse by her boyfriend etc). Clearly enough material to follow the footsteps of his neighbour in Detroit, a certain Marshall Mathers. Ultra-melancholic, sometimes violent, always melodic, Perception has barely been released and its already number 1 around the world. For his sins NF has granted himself a European promo tour. Dressed head to toe in black, cap firmly pulled down over his eyes (he doesn’t stop fiddling with it), with fine features, those of someone fresh out of adolescence, Feuerstein talks freely without being truly at ease with other people. Which makes him more accessible – although judging by his sales figures and his thousands of followers on social networks, one suspects this youthful timidity won’t last long.
Numéro: Barely any time passed between the release of Therapy Session and Perception. Where do you get your inspiration?
NF: My own life. In just three years I’ve released three albums that testify to what I’ve been through, particularly, Therapy Session, where I talk to myself, like I was my own shrink. Perception is a new situation: I’m questioning myself about the future, I’ve got a key I’m not sure how to use… Which door do I open?
It’s tricky talking about the music of NF without evoking that of Eminem…
I know, and I accept this: he was a major source of inspiration. From when I was really young I was obsessed with music, his in particular. I’d listen to Eminem non-stop, I’d write out his texts in my school books, I’d watch his videos over and over… He’s the one who gave me the courage to think that I could do hip hop as well.
“When I hear my songs on the radio, I sometimes find them really depressing!”