NF Is the Hottest Rapper You’ve Never Heard Of, But Not For Long

“I went from nobody to kinda famous.”

As NF admits in the song “Leave Me Alone,” he came out of nowhere but somehow managed to dethrone Chance the Rapper and nab the #1 album spot on the Billboard 200 chart. The 28-year-old Michigan artist is blowing up the airwaves from coast to coast. He may only have two initials, but NF is so hot right now.

Hip hop fans are curious about NF, whose real name is Nathan Feuerstein. He’s not new; The Search is his fifth studio album, but it’s the one that’s getting more buzz than anything that came before. That small following NF has been building over the years just got a lot bigger.

Here’s what you (and everyone else) didn’t know about NF.

NF | Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

NF is a Christian rapper, sort of

Probably the most surprising thing about NF is that he’s a Christian artist who’s making it big in the mainstream music world. But the thing that sets him apart from other religious-based musicians is that he doesn’t only write songs about his faith — in fact, it’s not a topic he dwells on too much.

“I’m a Christian, but I don’t make Christian music,” explained in an interview. “You’re not going to reach everyone with just one point of view. I write about things I’m actually dealing with. You don’t have to be Christian to relate to them.”

His music is a success in multiple genres

His faith sets him apart from other rappers, though. His songs often include either overt or subtle Christian messaging, though as he said it’s relatable to any person struggling with self-identity.

“If you’re a Christian and you’re a plumber, are you a Christian plumber?” he asked. Instead of pigeonholing himself as a strictly faith-based musician, NF wants to just create any music he wants.

Still, he’s risen to fame both on the Christian charts and the Billboard charts. And unlike so many other rappers, you’re not likely to catch NF saying swear words.

NF had a tough childhood

Like so many other artists, NF had a difficult childhood and channels that pain through his music. Complex reported that NF lived with his mother after his parents divorced and that his mom’s boyfriend abused him. Later, he moved in with his dad and his mother died from an overdose in 2009.

He responded to his life drama like so many others: through making music. And his raw sound is what’s really resonating with fans.

View this post on Instagram

Shooting THE SEARCH was Cold … the end

A post shared by NF (@nfrealmusic) on

Eminem is his musical influence

Listen closely to NF’s music and you’ll hear echoes of Eminem, and not just because both are white rappers. NF cited Eminem as a huge source of inspiration.

“It’s not like I related or thought all the things he [Eminem] thought or raps about, but I guess that was one of the first times I felt like I heard something that was super raw,” NF explained in a 2017 interview.

View this post on Instagram

I hate when they debate if …..

A post shared by NF (@nfrealmusic) on

“I just felt that authenticity. I also love the sound and the energy he puts off, but more than that, it was like a moment in time where I heard someone who I felt was super authentic but I also I loved his style. That’s why he’s the biggest influence for me, personally. I like music that moves you; I like music that can take you to a place that you just wouldn’t be.”

With two chart-topping albums and a growing number of fans, you haven’t heard the last from NF. Sounds like that’s a good thing.