Debuting at No.2 on the US Billboard 200, NF's album HOPE is one among many of the Michigan-born rapper's seemingly silent successes. Released as his sixth studio album, NF has a long track record of success but somehow remains on the fringes of mainstream Hip Hop, which is how he likes it. The reason, though widely debated, could simply be his content. NF has long been an outward expression of deep emotion, rapping about trauma, mental illness, and even his personal tragedies, including his mother's deeply unfortunate suicide. Whether you're a long-time fan or just getting into NF's music, his accomplishments demand respect and his music deserves attention.
Now that HOPE has existed long enough to fully digest, having released in April of 2023, let's dive head first into what makes this album worth a listen in Rhyme Junkie's first-ever true analytical review!
Rhyme Junkie Rating: HOPE by NF
For the sake of this article, let's briefly discuss how the track list is rated. Each and every track is carefully dissected and given its own numerical rating in the following categories:
Think of this category as a "general rating". It basically refers to whether or not the song maintains interest throughout the entire track without having to deep dive into any singular element of the song.
The content category refers to the lyrics of the given track. It's determined by the artist's ability to diversify their vocabulary and bring real value to the message using lyrical competence.
This is a fancy way of saying beat, instrumental, or backing track. It refers to the part of the track that doesn't include lyrics or ad-libs.
Delivery encompasses a couple of things, but for the sake of Rhyme Junkie Ratings, it will refer mostly to the artist's ability to evoke the emotion they're attempting to explore from the listener. It also refers to things like cadence and tone.
Last, but certainly not least, is flow. Flow refers to the artist's ability to match the lyrics to the rhythm of the musical composition.
After each category receives a numerical rating between 1-10, the five scores are averaged and produce the track's final rating, starting from the lowest end and ending with the highest-scored track.
Without further ado, here is a complete ranking of HOPE by NF, starting with the lowest scored track!
Musical Composition: 8.2/10
Final Rating: 7.78
Releasing almost a full month before HOPE, "MOTTO" is one of two separate singles NF dropped beforehand. This track alongside its music video is NF's playful take on how he feels about the industry and how he feels positioned within it, often seen as an outcast, in the least not taken seriously. The song also expresses NF's recent evolution in how he values his craft as well as the opinions of others, citing his inability to take pride or see value in his songs unless someone appointed that value first.