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I'm Clifford Stumme, and I use literary analysis and research to explain the deeper meanings of pop songs. Feel free to leave a comment or to email me at clifford@popsongprofessor.com with questions or ideas!

What does "Mansion" by NF mean?

What does "Mansion" by NF mean?

“Mansion” Lyrics Meaning

(The following blog post is a transcript created by Xalma of the below video.)

Today we’re doing some old school NF, with his album Mansion, particularly his song “Mansion”; it’s a super deep song, it’s worth hearing about, and you guys should totally listen to it.

So first of, we hear Fleurie singing,

 

Chorus

Insidious is blind inception
What's reality with all these questions?
Feels like I missed my alarm and slept in
Slept in

 

That first line is probably the most complicated line that I’ve ever heard in an NF song, but the word insidious means a slow and a gradual decline of something, and blind, we cannot see, we’re not paying attention, and inception is the beginning of something. So maybe it means that we don’t know where we’re going as we decline, and this is the beginning of it, and it’s kind of lead to this point. “What is reality with all these questions?”, that’s what we want to know, and that’s what we’ll see as we get into the verses; but before we get there, Fleurie continues,

 

Broken legs, but I chase perfection
These walls are my blank expression
My mind is a home I'm trapped in
And it's lonely inside this mansion

 

with this she prefaces the entire concept of the song, where NF is going to be rapping about this mansion where he has his lyrics or thoughts scribbled all over the walls, as he gives us a tour of what’s inside each room, and those different stories, pieces of history, that have shaped him, helped him be who he is, but focusing mainly of the negative aspects; thus the broken legs as he chases perfection. So NF starts rapping,

 

Verse One

Yo, my mind is a house with walls, covered in lyrics
They're all over the place, there's songs in the mirrors
Written all over the floors, all over the chairs

 

this is him echoing the preface that Fleurie gave, he continues,

 

And you get the uncut version of life when I go downstairs
That's where I write when I'm in a bad place and need to release
And let out the version of NF you don't wanna see

 

so there is a room in his house where he has been physically abused, and he gives a lot of description of that, and he talks about his feeling surrounding that; and this is one of the rooms, and it’s a really dark place for him, and it goes like this,

 

I put holes in the walls with both of my fists till they bleed
You might get a glimpse of how I cope with all this anger in me
Physically abused, now that's the room that I don't wanna be in
That picture ain't blurry at all, I just don't wanna see it
And these walls ain't blank, I just think I don't wanna see 'em
But why not? I'm in here, so I might as well read 'em

 

it’s descriptive, but not too much for a song, and  he continues,

 

I gotta thank you for this anger that I carry around
Wish I could take a match and burn this whole room to the ground
Matter of fact, I think I'ma burn this room right now
Somehow, this memory, for some reason, just won't burn down
You used to put me in the corner, so you could see the fear in my eyes
Then took me downstairs and beat me till I screamed and I cried
Congratulations, you'll always have a room in my mind
But I'ma keep the door shut and lock the lyrics inside

 

this is probably referring to the person who abused NF physically as a child, who’s probably his mother’s boyfriend, but I don’t have conclusive evidence of that. He then continues,

 

Verse Two

Yo, my mind is a house with walls, covered in pain
See, my problem is, I don't fix things, I just try to repaint
Cover 'em up, like it never happened, say, "I wish I could change"

 

and this is a lot about repression, something that I can empathise with for sure, and there is probably a lot of other people out there who do too, we sometimes say instead of trying to deal with the issues, and acknowledge the emotions, and come to a healthy healing, it’s so much easier sometimes to be like “I’m just going to try really hard not to think about that”, and go do something else; and that never works, things always keep coming back up, as evidence by Nate rapping this song,

 

Are you confused? Come upstairs and I'll show you what I mean
This room's full of regrets, it just keeps getting fuller, it seems
The moment I walk into it's the same moment that I wanna leave
I get sick to my stomach every time I look at these things
But it's hard to look past when this is the room where I sleep

 

then he continues,

 

I look around, one of the worst things I wrote on these walls
Was the moment I realized that I was losing my mom
One of the first things I wrote was, "I wish I woulda called"

 

historically, he had a really bad relationship with his mum, and you can see it in a lot of his songs, and at the time he felt like he was beginning to lose her, he still felt guilty, like he should have done more, and spent more time with her,

 

But I should just stop now, we ain't got enough room in this song
And I regret the fact that I struggled trying to find who I am
And I lie to myself and say I do the best that I can
Shrug it off like it ain't nothing, like it's out of my hands
Then get ticked off whenever I see it affecting my plans

 

and he continues,

 

And I regret watchin' these trust issues eat me alive
And at the rate I'm goin', they'll probably still be there when I die
Congratulations, you'll always have a room in my mind
The question is, will I ever clean the walls off in time?

 

Now, he has been married since he wrote this song, but I’m sure that trust issues is a huge part of that relationship, and it’s a thing that he will have to deal with forever, something that he acknowledges here,

 

Verse Three

So this part of my house, no one's been in it for years
I built a safe room and I don't let no one in there
'Cause if I do, there's a chance that they might disappear
And not come back, and I admit, I am emotionally scared

 

this is a really interesting thing for NF to say, because this whole song is him revealing stuff that he struggles with.

 

To let anyone inside, so I just leave my doors locked
You might get other doors to open up, but this door's not
'Cause I don't want you to have the opportunity to hurt me
And I'll be the only person that I can blame when you desert me
I'm barricaded inside, so stop watchin'
I'm not coming to the door, so stop knockin', stop knockin'

 

Now, he’s not getting super specific nor graphic about this, and there is probably a lot of things that he hasn’t shared with people; but it makes it seem like this song is an attempt for him to try and open up, open that door to that room, and in a way, let a lot of people in, which to some people might feel just as invasive as letting just one person really close, even though I generally feel that this second one is going to be a lot more difficult, I know it would be for me,

 

I'm trapped here, God keeps saying I'm not locked in
I chose this, I am lost in my own conscience

 

a lot of people ask if NF is a Christian, and he is, though I would say from a lot of what I have seen, he’s not a “Christian artist” per se; he’s more of just an artist who is a Christian, and we can see him acknowledging God here; he knows that he could step out of this house, but he doesn’t really feel that he has the strength to do it. Continuing on he says,

 

I know that shuttin' the world out ain't solvin' the problem
But I didn't build this house because I thought it would solve 'em
I built it because I thought that it was safer in there

 

and that kind of goes back to the repression, or the building up the safety around you, instead of dealing with things, or welling to trust others; so instead of coming in contact with those problems and asking for help from other people; he just built this creepy dark mansion on the hill, where he sits by himself, and suffers from this emotional distress.
Near the end of verse three we hear,

 

But it's not, I'm not the only thing that's livin' in here
Fear came to my house years ago, I let him in
Maybe that's the problem, 'cause I've been dealing with this ever since
I thought that he would leave, but it's obvious, he never did
He must have picked a room and got comfortable and settled in

 

some really awesome rhythms and rhymes there; so speaking about these lyrics here, I can definitely empathise with this, because I think for a lot of us, fear is the impetus, or is the cause of a lot of the ways that we’re unhappy, or a lot of the things that we do wrong, or the ways that we hurt other people. Fear is what causes us to act prideful, or to act in vain, because we feel insecure, so we maybe try to compensate by taking our fears and insecurities out on other people; fear for sure causes a lot of unhappiness internally; like the fear of being alone, fear of being hurt, fear of not being good enough; like I could go on with the list, and probably as I’m giving this list, everybody who’s reading this in some point or another going to be like “Yup, that one’s mine”; and I think that a lot of the things that we do wrong, can be tracked back to one of our fears. Maybe I have a fear of not being able to control things, so I figure if I can control other people, then maybe I’ll feel a bit more like I can control myself; and that fear is not an excuse for doing the wrong thing, but I think NF is identifying that a lot of the problems that he listed in the other verses, come because he’s let fear take a place in his home, or his mansion; and he wraps this whole thing up by saying,

 

Now I'm in a position, it's either sit here and let 'em win
Or put him back outside where he came from, but I never can
'Cause in order to do that, I'd have to open the doors
Is that me or the fear talking? I don't know anymore

 

this is really kind of finalise it with “Yeah, fear is a part of who I am; I’m struggling with it”, and he doesn’t give a solution; which is not very encouraging; but it’s really nice to hear somebody who is at least not afraid to be honest.

And so, this was “Mansion”; and this is a part of a series on NF, so stay tuned for few other NF song explanations, and if you want to write lyrics like NF, there is a new course that just went live on the first of April, "How to Write Lyrics Like NF", you can check sign up in the link below:

https://how-to-write-lyrics-like-nf.teachery.co/

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