NF is the stage name of rapper and composer Nate Feuerstein, whose raw emotions and honest lyrics helped him storm the upper reaches of the charts with his third album, Perception. Feuerstein endured a hardship-filled childhood in which his parents divorced, his mother's boyfriend physically abused him, and his mother eventually killed herself. Music was his escape, and he began recording songs on a karaoke machine, with instrumentals on one microphone and his raps in the other. Feuerstein independently released his debut album, Moments, in 2010. The album attracted the attention of Xist Music, which signed him to a recording deal in 2012, by which time he had taken on the stage name NF. The label announced the release of an EP that same year, but it never appeared, and NF and Xist parted ways. NF spent the next two years looking for a label and working with local producer Tommee Profitt in his studio; they eventually came up with "Wake Up." The song prompted a self-titled EP late in the summer of 2014, including a Manny Marroquin remix of "Wake Up." His debut album, Mansion, was released in early 2015, and reached number 62 on the Billboard 200. The aptly titled Therapy Session followed in 2016, topping the Rap Albums chart and almost reaching the overall Top Ten. The following summer saw the release of the singles "Outro" and "Green Lights." Both were included on his third studio long-player, Perception, which dropped later that October and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. The platinum album's biggest hit turned out to be its third single, the ubiquitous radio staple "Let You Down," which topped the U.S. Christian Songs charts and peaked just outside the Top 10 on the Hot 100. While that song still maintained radio airplay -- and additional album single "Lie" was also certified platinum -- NF issued "The Search," the first single from 2019's The Search, which arrived that July. ~ Steve Leggett

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