ALBUM REVIEW: NF // CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE)

Date:

Recommended Tracks: THAT’S A JOKE, STORY, LOST
Artists You May Like:  Eminem, twenty one pilots, Tech N9ne

When I think of mixtapes, I picture a variety of artists and genres all on one tape – or in today’s age, on one playlist… These mixtapes usually focus on a theme, like “dog birthday party” or “songs for the beach,” and consist of tracks that set the mood for the theme.  For NF’s fifth studio album, CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE), do you think NF has put together a collection of songs about clouds?  No.  Songs by artists who enjoy clouds?  No.  Instead, the Michigan-based rapper is giving us a collection of his own work, focusing on tracks that showcase his artistry…but, there may also be a song or two about a cloud.

As I navigated my way through CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE), I found that most of the tracks feature a similar musical landscape.  On “CLOUDS” and “THAT’S A JOKE,” for instance, there is a bit of string work, in the form of creeping violin lines or staccato stylings.  On top of the lurking accompaniment, there are many a sinister-sounding downbeat, bringing further emphasis to the dark production of each track.  Overall, these sounds produce shadowy, hazy imagery – almost as if NF is summoning a storm with his words.

Indeed, the tracks on the album are very intense and well thought-out.  When NF raps, he goes all out.  He emphasizes, he switches up his flow, and his agility is completely mesmerizing; when I listen to “TRUST” or even the ending of “DRIFTING,” I am not even thinking about what is being said – I am just totally fixated on NF’s speed.  The attention to detail is worthy of noting, and one of the reasons NF’s music does so well.

Every story on CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE) is fully flushed out, but not in a way that gets boring or redundant.  NF says what he needs to say to give you the full picture in the end, even if he does so using abstract words or thoughts.  We go on such a journey on each track, living through many highs and lows, only to become amazed that we heard everything in about three or four minutes.  On “STORY,” for instance, NF recounts a chilling incident at a gas station – so much so that you feel as if you were there at the time.  It clocks in as the longest track on the album, but it goes by in a flash.

If you are familiar with NF, then you can tell that this is a classic NF album.  The tracks expand on topics that he has brought up before, but keeps them fresh and relevant.  If you are not completely familiar with NF, then this album is a great introduction to what you have been missing.  There are countless reasons as to why these tracks would be on this “mixtape,” even if their connection is a little unclear.  Are they connected by their production, their vibe, or by the fact that NF is on them?  In the end, it does not really matter.  These all hold a special meaning to NF, and we should be grateful that he chose to share them with us.

You can listen to CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE) on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

Keep up with NF:  Instagram // Facebook // Twitter // Website

Christine Sloman
Christine Slomanhttps://linktr.ee/christine.sloman
Writer for Melodic Mag since 2018. Music lover since always.

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