NF & the Enneagram

Unless you've been living under the proverbial rock, you've probably heard of the rapper Nate Feuerstein, more commonly known as NF. He's been on the scene since 2014, but has recently made it big with his 2017 hits Let You Down and Green Lights. NF is a Christian who is a rapper, but not necessarily a "Christian rapper." His lyrics are not explicit, but they hit just as hard as others like Eminem or Kendrick. His whole business is about "real music." He writes deeply and passionately about his own struggles with mental health, abuse, and loss.

Since his songs are so personal and packed with emotion, I thought it would be interesting to pair some of his songs with the different Enneagram types. If you've never heard NF before, give these a listen. They also happen to be some of my favorite tracks.

**TL;DR**
Type 1: Let You Down
Type 2: I'll Keep On
Type 3: Motivated
Type 4: Outcast
Type 5: The Search
Type 6: Intro III
Type 7: Turn the Music Up
Type 8: Why
Type 9: Oh Lord
_____________________

TYPE 1 (THE PERFECTIONIST)
Let You Down

Again, Let You Down is probably one of NF's most popular releases. He even mocks his own success in a later song ("Let You Down's the only song you've heard of, well then you're behind"). As I listen to the song, it's about the struggle we face to live up to others' expectations. Sometimes it feels like we can never be good enough, we will never measure up. Unspoken expectation and unreasonably high standards only lead to feelings of disappointment and resentment. Left unaddressed, these feelings can shatter relationships beyond repair. In the song he feels helpless, realizing the endless cycle of hope and disillusionment.

But what if the person you're letting down the most is yourself? Type ONES have a tendency to be their own worst critic. That inner voice won't shut up. It's always there pointing out what they've done wrong or could have done better. It's relentless. ONES need to learn to listen to that inner voice but not be governed by it. ONES need to come to terms with their inner critic, learning when to heed to criticism and when to smile, nod, and move on with life. Easier said than done.

All these voices in my head get loud
I wish that I could shut them out
I'm sorry that I let you down



_____________________

TYPE 2 (THE HELPER)
I'll Keep On

The opening line of another song, Two by Sleeping At Last, begins with the line, "Sweetheart you look a little tired. When did you last rest?" That speaks directly to the heart of many TWOS that I know. TWOS are the Helpers, they need to be needed. They will give you everything just to feel like they are loved and valued. Their serving can come from a place of pride. It feels good to know that people rely on them and. But that pride can also lead to resentment and bitterness if they are feel unappreciated for all the things they do. A classic tale to illustrate the life of a TWO is "The Giving Tree." That proverbial tree gives and gives until there is virtually noting left of itself. That's the caution for TWOS.

But TWOS can also be stubborn in accepting help. They want others to depend on them, but they don't like having to depend on others in return. Accepting gifts or service from others (or even from God) can be a big step of maturity for a TWO. That's why this song, I'll Keep On, speaks so strongly to TWOS. Just check out some of these lines.

Oh these hands are tired / Oh this heart is tired / Oh this soul is tired / But I'll keep on

It's like I'm standing in the rain and you offer me a raincoat / But I would rather stand there being wet than take the handout / What's wrong with me? / You said, you've always got your hands out / And I can't continue on my own so take my hands now / I give you everything, God, not just a little bit / Take it from me, I am nothing but a hypocrite


______________________

TYPE 3 (THE PERFORMER / ACHIEVER)
Motivated

THREES are.... motivated. They are known as the performer or achiever because they do and do and do. THREES desire to be, or at least appear to be, successful in whatever they do. They dress to impress. They can work a room and win people over. They have vision and goals and dreams. THREES can often accomplish more before lunch than others do for the whole day. No one has to tell a THREE what to do. They already have a to-do list a mile long in their heads. If there's a task to do, they'll get it done. They may come off as competitive, but their biggest competition is themselves. THRES don't necessarily need to be the best. They just need to be the best version of themselves they can be.

This song choice is pretty obvious for THREES. The chorus of the song is very repetitive, as you will hear. But most THREES love routines and efficiency. The verses are almost a freestyle rap, which also connects with THREES who are really good at thinking on their feet and coming up with solutions to problems on the fly. This song can be a little off-putting to some, it might be a little much, a little over the top. But again...THREES. Think Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec.

I put work in this music, you think I'm making this up?
If the songs ain't sharp, trust me they ain't making the cut
You don't like it? 
I'm no teacher, but you'll learn to adjust
I'm my own worst critic, so critics step your hate game up



_____________________

TYPE 4 (THE INDIVIDUALIST)
Outcast

FOURS are the most unique type on the Enneagram. I'm not just saying that. Most experts believe there are fewer FOURS than any other type. FOURS are commonly known as the Individualists or sometimes the Romantics. It's often said that FOURS don't have feelings, they are feelings. FOURS are comfortable with sorrow and melancholy. They love to feel deeply, and they often wear their emotions on their sleeves. The driving force behind a FOUR is the desire to be different and distinct. They dread being "normal." However, there is an inner conflict for them because they want to be loved and accepted. They want to be different but to be treated normal. They want you, but they don't want you too close. They want to be fully themselves, but they envy the lives of others.

A mature FOUR is one who can embrace their uniqueness without feeling like something is missing. It's ok to be the outcast if that's who you are made to be. It's ok if not everyone understands you. It's ok to be yourself in all your eccentricities. The song Outcast speaks to FOURS, I think, because Nate is wrestling with the fact that his life and career is so different than those of other rappers. He accepts and embraces his outcast status.

I'm high off the music, my head's in the clouds
I kinda like it up here, I am not comin' down
I'd rather be alone, I am not good in crowds
Which is kinda confusin', I've not been that way since I was a child
They laughin', they tell me I'll never get out
I'm just tryna be me, I am nobody else
I don't care what you think, I'm just bein' myself
So I guess for now
I'll just be the outcast

_____________________

Type 5 (The Observer / Investigator)
The Search

You know those people who know something about everything and everything about something? You know those people who tend to overanalyze everything? Those people who tend to take a scientific approach to life, even relationships? Those people who seem to be experts in everything except their own emotions? Those people who have a "fortress of solitude" into which very few people are ever invited? These are most likely to be Type FIVES. They are commonly known as the Observers or Investigators. They value the pursuit of knowledge and competency, but they can really struggle to be open and vulnerable with their own emotions in relationships.

In NF's song The Search he raps about the journey he has been on. It's about learning to cope with mental health struggles (like OCD, which is probably common among FIVES) and broken relationships. He has to learn how to be real with his emotions and open up to people even though he would much rather just pretend like everything is ok. FIVES need to learn to embrace the search. It's part of life. Emotions can be intimidating for FIVES because they seem unknowable, but they are really infinitely knowable. The more you learn, the more you become aware of what you don't know.

It's that time again
Better grab your balloons and invite your friends
Seatbelts back on yeah strap 'em in
Look at me everybody I'm smilin' big
On a road right now that I can't predict
Tell me tone that down, but I can't resist
Y'all know that sound better raise your fist
The search begins
I'm back so enjoy the trip



_____________________

TYPE 6 (THE LOYALIST)
Intro III

Don't sleep on the intro tracks to NF's records. They hit just as hard as any other. This is my favorite intro. It's framed as a conversation between Nate and Fear. NF raps a lot about letting fear control his actions and derail his relationships. Fear can be a helpful advisor but a lousy boss. That's a lesson all SIXES need to learn.

SIXES are known as Loyalists. They can be ride-or-die loyal to any family, relationship, company, or organization. However, they are inherently distrusting of those in authority. SIXES can be either your greatest champion or your strongest critic. They naturally play "Devil's advocate," pointing out all the what-ifs. Since they are primarily driven by fear, they fixate on worst-case-scenarios. They can be prepared for anything and everything, but they can also let that fear hold them back from stepping out in faith.

What I'm sayin' is me without you doesn't make any sense
I know I'm intense in controlling, but you need to learn how to cope with it
That's just the way that it is
If you didn't want me to live in your house, you shouldn't have let me move in
It's comfortable here and I like it, I got my own room and everything
It don't get better than this!
You say you wanna own your life, then wake up and take your own advice
You just mad 'cause you know I'm right



_____________________

TYPE 7 (THE ENTHUSIAST)
Turn the Music Up

SEVENS tend to be the fun loving, spontaneous, larger than life adventurers. They can be the life of the party, or they can bail to go find something else to do. SEVENS can be visionaries and dreamers. They are amazing at spreading excitement and laughter. But underneath the outgoing exterior there is a fear of pain. Often that joie de vive is driven by a need to avoid the pains of life, negative emotions, boredom, etc. SEVENS are really susceptible to addictions and numbing activities - be it food, alcohol, drugs, shopping, partying, travel, etc. They will do just about anything they can to avoid dealing with the real life negative emotions.

Turn the Music Up is one of NF's few straight up dance hits. It's full of hyped up beats and driving anthemic choruses. It's a party anthem. There's nothing wrong with enjoying life and partying. But the danger for SEVENS is using that as an escape or an attempt to numb. Regardless, this is a really tight beat that will get your blood pumping and your head banging.

Red Bull in my hands, feels like I got wings
Lotta people in my face, but I can't hear a thing
It's like my heads up in the clouds, heads up in the clouds
And I ain't coming down, no

_____________________

TYPE 8 (THE CHALLENGER)
Why

My wife is an EIGHT. When NF released this single it instantly became one of her favorites. She simply said, "Here, listen to this," and handed me the headphones. We don't know for sure, but if we had to guess, NF is probably an EIGHT. Commonly known as the Challenger, EIGHTS view conflict as a form of intimacy. They want to know that you can hold your own against them. They want everyone to think they are an open book, but there are parts of themselves they reserve for only those closest to them - and even then it's not a sure thing. EIGHTS try to avoid vulnerability because they often have some sort of abuse or betrayal in their past. It's hard for them to really let their guard down and trust someone else.

Inside the tough exterior of an EIGHT is a child who never really got to have a childhood. They feel like they have to put on a thick skin to protect that inner child. That's also why EIGHTS can be some of the biggest advocates for justice for the underdogs. They are very protective of the ones they love, and they will not hesitate to stand up for the oppressed and weak. But EIGHTS also need to realize that vulnerability can be their greatest strength, not a weakness. Letting people in takes real courage.

Smile for a moment then these questions startin' to fill my head, not again!
I push away the people that I love the most; why?
I don't want no one to know I'm vulnerable; why?
That makes me feel weak and so uncomfortable; why?
Stop askin' me questions, I just wanna feel alive
Until I die—this isn't Nate's flow (woo)
Just let me rhyme; I'm in disguise
I'm a busy person, got no time for lies; one of a kind

_____________________

TYPE 9 (THE PEACEMAKER)
Oh Lord

NINES are known as Peacemakers, but if you know any NINES they can come across as peace-keepers.  If NINES aren't self-aware, they can be "asleep" to the world around them. But when NINES wake up, oh my goodness, they can bring people together and get stuff done. Experts think that a lot of politicians  and prophets are NINES. For the most part NINES can be very laid back without many strong opinions or convictions. That's why you should pay attention when a NINE becomes passionate about something. A NINE who is awake to their world can see the way things are and call people to task, drawing on both their EIGHT and ONE wings.

In his song, Oh Lord, NF is writing to God but it's a challenge for us who are listening. He urges us to wake up and pay attention. He calls us out of our hypocritical religious ritual and actually live in relationship with God. That relationship should have a positive impact on the world around us. It's better to wake up now and get serious about our faith than to sleep through life and be ripped awake by some kind of tragedy. You can't be a Peacemaker if you're asleep to the world.

Listen, yeah everybody wants change
Don't nobody wanna change though
Don't nobody wanna pray
Till they got something to pray for
Now everybody's gon' die
But don't everybody live though
Sometimes I look up to the sky
And wonder do you see us down here?
Oh Lord

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Biblical Enneagram Types: TWOS

Biblical Enneagram Types: SIXES

Biblical Enneagram Types: FOURS