Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

NF ft. Hopsin – Lost

What eight Jukebox blurbs does to a NF…


Thomas Inskeep: NF has always wanted to be Eminem — a quick listen to any of his records proves that — but on “Lost,” he takes it a step further and attempts to create his own “Lose Yourself.” Spoiler alert: he fails.

John S. Quinn-Puerta: “Listen, remember last year, when Lin-Manuel Miranda introduced Eminem at the Oscars and everyone got confused and vibed to ‘Lose Yourself’ while Scorsese tried to nap? I want something with the energy of that moment, but more boring.”

Mark Sinker: Probably it’s shtick by now to hear formalism in this more than insight or honesty, but there’s just something about two guys (one a storied Christian, one too well known for heedless beef) stepping opposed mood-paths round the double spiral of the ole Eminem spitting-lyric ratchet. Taken just as a technical display move this is well realised: great build, superb management of the upward gear-shifts. Lost in what though? It has lines to enjoy but the exploration still mainly feels like psychobabble as controlled pissyfit.

Dede Akolo: The darkness within that introduction reminds me of AWOLNATION’s “Sail” (looking up the song I found that they sound nearly identical). The thing is that I like “Sail”; that song brings darkness that remains throughout the song that NF lacks. “Lost” itself is good. It suffices. It has nutritional value. But does it wow me? No. There is this satirical slam poetry, that millennial Eminem tiktok cringe quality that I think will reek itself throughout White rappers (with a capital ‘W’). I don’t know what can be done about it. How do we save these White men from corniness? Chet Hanks save us!

Nortey Dowuona: Crouching, purring strings and Zack Snyder bass roar behind NF as he tries to stack the bricks higher than Babel, the shaking trap patterns lifting him as he continues to assemble his quixotic tower, seeing the clouds and beginning to pass them. The cloud WOOMPS, trying to shake him, but he continues to build while Hopsin quietly builds the foundations and tries to keep it strong, even as the clouds try to WOOMP him away. He pulls them away for NF to climb to the sun… and burn to ashes.

Taylor Alatorre: Credit where it’s due: NF has done a fantastic job of making me appreciate Hopsin’s talent for the first time. The notoriously verbose “Ill Mind” rapper sounds downright economical when placed next to NF’s Substack essay of a verse, and the well-timed variations in Hopsin’s flow help his all-consuming rage come across as more believable. It’s not enough to make up for the faux urgency of that “chorus,” but retreads of Recovery-era Em have the potential to be much less bearable than this.

Juana Giaimo: “Lost” is not fun to listen to. Both rappers are so self-aware that they are talking about serious and heavy stuff from the deepest deep of their soul that they forgot to put some charisma to their rapping, and they’re just spitting words fast and angrily. 

Samson Savill de Jong: Get beneath the menacing beat and the aggressive, fast-paced lyrics and really listen to what NF is saying here, and you realise that he’s on the same level as all the derided Christian rap that came before him. But this is not because faith and rap music are an impossible square to circle. Rappers like DMX or the current GOAT-apparent Kendrick Lamar avoid the label of Christian rap despite being Christians who make music that directly deals with and is a consequence of their faith. They avoid the label and all of its negative connotations because their music shows real struggles and shows how they really wrestle with their own personal interpretations of their faith. Even if you disagree with them (side eyes towards Kendrick saying slavery and racism is God testing black people as they are the new Israelites), they’re clearly saying something that is deep and personal. NF exposes himself with the line “Failing’s how you grow and learn your lessons, kids”. This is said unironically, and shows him up as a youth pastor trying to be inspirational and relatable. All his supposed examples of his failings and flaws are just empty generalities; there’s no real account of struggle for us to relate to and thus be inspired by. It’s why this is so obviously “Christian rap” despite the fact that NF doesn’t mention God at all. (Hopsin, who’s changed his mind on this a bit through his career, is the only one to actively bring the bible up). Eminem, who NF is so desperate to rip off stylistically, made a ton of references to the kids, but he was doing it ironically, making fun of the kind of hypocritical blemish-free know-it-all who handed down wisdom from on high, i.e. the exact thing that NF comes off as. The song isn’t bad; it’s competently produced, and NF has more skill than a literal youth pastor, while Hopsin avoids some of the traps that have got him this cornball label in recent years. But the point is it’s all artifice, and there’s no real depth here to actually understand any of the struggles that they claim they’re going through. NF is still a Christian first and a rapper second, and his music won’t improve until he’s able to flip that order around.

Reader average: [4.5] (2 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

One Response to “NF ft. Hopsin – Lost”

  1. Rest in Power DMX, since Samson brought him up