The War Within: Mental Health Rhetoric in NF’s Rap Lyrics

Honors Program

University Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

C. Wesley Buerkle

Thesis Professor Department


Thesis Reader(s)

Kelly A. Dorgan


More celebrities have been opening up about the mental illness (MI) journey, despite its stigmatized status in society. This shift has become popular with some rap artists, including Kanye West, Logic, and NF. However, little research exists on mental health rhetoric in the rap industry. In this project, I contributed to filling this gap by looking at the lyrics of American rapper, NF. Because his music is rising popularity and heavily focused on MI experience, NF was a worthy rhetor to study. I used Fantasy Theme Analysis to discover the fantasy themes present in NF’s album The Search. These fantasy themes present bind together to create a rhetorical vision of how NF experiences an internal war because of his MI. NF’s experiences may be shared by his listeners that also deal with the complexities of MI and its associated stigma. By talking about his MI experiences openly and honestly, NF and other celebrities can use their public platform to increase feelings of belongingness and reduce feelings of self-stigma.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


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