“MOTTO” by NF
NF is hoping to score a hat-trick of three Billboard 200-topping studio albums in the row with the release of his album “Hope” (2023).
As with the two that preceded it, “Perception” (2017) and “The Search” (2019), this outing is being backed by Caroline Records and NF Real Music. Thus far we’ve been treated to its lead single, itself titled “Hope“, which proved to be a moderate success. So “Motto”, which was released on 9 March 2023, marks the second single from the project.
WHERE WOULD NF & TOMMEE PROFITT BE WITHOUT EACH OTHER?
NF’s most-successful songs have been behind-the-scenes’ collaborations with Tommee Profitt, whom he first started working with early in his career. Profitt, who like NF hails from Michigan, has actually worked with a number of artists throughout this career, including the likes of Royal & the Serpent and TobyMac.
But his most-notable and consistent successes have also been attributable to working with NF. For instance, it was Tommee who assisted NF in composing “Let You Down“, the multi-platinum hit which serves as the latter’s signature song.
So it was also Profitt who co-wrote “Motto” with NF, though in this case, the rapper produced the track himself. And just to note, NF also had a hand in directing this song’s music video along with another of his regular collaborators, Patrick Tohill.
WHAT’S NF’S MOTTO?
As presented, NF’s motto, especially as far as his approach to the music industry is concerned, is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. That’s a very-popular adage that you probably heard before. It points to the idea that if something is working properly, then it’s best to leave it as is without instituting any major modifications.
In this case, said something would once again be NF’s music career, from which for instance he was able to go from writing songs in his “bedroom” to now doing his thing in “the big leagues”.
A regular subtheme of NF’s artistry revolves around the rapper presenting himself as someone who can enjoy more-mainstream notoriety if he so desired. Or getting right down to the nitty-gritty, he is often classified as being along the lines of a Christian, not conventional, rapper.
So for example, as implied in the music video to “Motto”, the Grammys may have yet, if ever, to show NF love. But to note, he has received a couple of GMA Dove Awards.
“Oh, God (Yeah)
Might catch me at the award show
Eatin’ popcorn in the back row
Catchin’ Zs with my hat low
No nominations, but it’s cool though
You might see me in the same clothes
I had on last week, am I ashamed? No (Yeah)
You heard the sayin’, ‘If it ain’t broke
Don’t fix it,’ that’s my motto”
So basically, this particular track revolves around the premises of NF conscientiously shunning certain industry practices which, if he were to embrace them, would grant him more-mainstream appeal. But concurrently, the vocalist comes off as if he’s a bit bitter that he isn’t more successful.
And no, we’re not trying to diss NF or anything like that. But it does feel kinda weird sometimes going through the lyrics of a musician who, in reality, is one of the most-successful industry rappers of the late 2010s, though regularly presenting himself as if he’s got the short end of the stick due to his dedication to keeping it real to his established practices and beliefs.
Yes, logic would dictate that if NF were to, say, “move to L.A.”, start working with “the biggest of names” and perhaps hire “fifty advisors”, as other rappers do, he may then reach a higher echelon of success and notoriety.
That’s a notion that other conscious rappers, such as Chance, have alluded to also, how they’re suffering as a result of not going full mainstream, i.e. gangsta and/or commercial. But given that NF also has a tendency to boast about his success, even if indirectly, it ain’t like he’s starving or anything. But it does appear that the onset of the 2020s haven’t particularly been as kind to his career as the 2010s were.
So conclusively, going back to his motto, NF has decided to keep his modus operandi as is. Or as inferred, previously, he was an artist obsessed with dropping a hit.
But at this point, perhaps being discouraged and/or inspired by his lack of mainstream recognition nonetheless, he has now come to embrace his non-commercial uniqueness and the freedom that being out of the spotlight, relatively speaking, affords him.