Last year introduced me to the rapper known as NF, and his small EP was good enough for me to be stoked about his full-length follow-up, Mansion. That being said, I knew I was going to hear something good - really good - but what I've heard is actually something with the words "amazing" and "perfect" written all over it. The idea behind Mansion is an invitation into the mind and world of NF, and the opening track "Intro" (yes, even the intro track is banging and worth mentioning) lays down haunting yet thumping beats with the rapper spitting furiously and impeccably ending the song with "I'm sorry, but I gotta leave and man this track was beautiful. The least I can do if I murder a beat is take the time to go to his funeral." It's just sick; plain sick rapping.
This album is not for those who dig the simple radio-play kind of hip hop heard so often today. This twelve-track ensemble deals with NF's personal struggles through past and present circumstances and is extremely raw emotionally; you can't help but know what's going on inside of his head. The title track is ultra-personal, cleverly entering the different rooms in his house, with each carrying its own memory. "All I Have" comes up next, and those who grabbed last year's EP will recognize this incredibly amazing song along with "Wake Up" a little later. Both tracks are two wonderful additions to this year's release. Later on, you'll catch "Face It," "Notepad" and "Paralyzed," which offer more creative perspectives while touching on life's important matters, NF's detailed musical journey, and the walls of personal numbness that we sometimes hit.
"Motivated" has a stadium rocking edge that offers some of the most clever one-liners I recall hearing being jammed packed into one track, with samples such as "And I suggest you buckle up if you come in this ride. No Johnny Cash, but to some of ya'll, I'm walking the line. But you're wrong though, ya'll look curious, Heath Ledger type of questions like why so serious?" Mansion ends on a much needed and more chill vibe, with guest spots featuring Jeremiah of The Neverclaim in the soulful "I'll Keep On," and Britt Nicole on the powerful and moving "Can You Hold Me." The final track brings a completeness while incorporating soft singing and orchestra strings, and it's the perfect ending to an immaculate album.
The only downfall here will be that some people aren't impressed by such raw, personal, and emotionally-driven rap, but that's exactly what makes this stand out among so many rap albums out today. You can't argue with the tremendous thumping beats and NF's amazing flow when he spits, and coupled with the raw honesty, this definitely becomes one of the best rap albums I have ever heard. I don't hand out five-star reviews very often, but I can't find a single thing on this release that I don't love. This has "album of the year" written all over it.- Preview Review date: 3/4/15, Review date: 3/19/15, written by Kevin Hoskins of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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