Imagine with me—you’re sitting in a crowded cab with some of your closest buds, getting ready for a night on the town. For whatever reason (a combination of your fleeting sobriety or the distracting city lights drawing your eyes away from your friends and onto the streets), there’s a moment of soft silence. The driver turns the car’s radio up the tiniest bit—she feels awkward otherwise. You don’t recognize the song she’s playing (You! The huge music nerd that you are!) and when you glance over to the dash to see if her Toyota is new enough to have one of those devices that label tracks in real time, you realize it’s broken. Unless you have Shazam at the ready, the song is about to end, and you’ll never get to know what that secret hit was...until the next time you’re in a car, or grocery store, whatever. I’m here to tell you: That song was “Let You Down” by the Christian (like, actually open about his faith!) rapper NF.
At the time of publishing this, “Let You Down” is No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100, and if that chart is to be believed, it’s ridiculously popular (judging by the four times I heard it over the course of one weekend, it’s pretty much all over the place). But where the heck did this dude, born Nathan John Feuerstein, come from?
Feuerstein entered the music game in 2010, when he released his debut LP, Moments, under his birth name. In 2014, he signed to Capitol CMG—that’s Capitol Records Christian Music Group, the Christian division of the major label under the Universal Music Group umbrella—and began recording under his known musical moniker, NF. Since signing in 2014, he’s put out three full-length records on Capitol, 2015's Mansion, 2016's Therapy Session, and 2017's Perception.
Last year provided “Let You Down,” the hit that would bring NF into the mainstream, but he’s been working his way into your headphones (or Ubers) for a while now: In 2016, his song “Intro” was included in the video game Madden NFL 16. That same year, Therapy Session won the Dove Award (think of it as the Grammys for, like, Christian music) for Best Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year.
And now you know.