NAV – Nav
Released: 23 February 2017
Nav raps with vengeful emotion, recalling his life before fame when he never had women, money, or drugs. Especially drugs. Although NAV is a melodic, boppy effort from the XO (The Weeknd’s label) signee, below it’s surface is self-loathing, introspective lyrics. A dive beyond Nav’s dark, floaty production reveals a bleak self-portrait that Nav paints throughout this mixtape. One can’t help but feel that Nav battles with self-esteem issues or, at worst, depression.
This NAV project is nice, but listening to the lyrics he describes himself as if he’s a massive lame. I appreciate Nav’s honesty but I swear he says a variation of “before I had money I had no bitches and no life” at least 4-5 times in just 11 songs.
Lame shit said throughout this mixtape:
“When I’m sober I just don’t like who I am/
Po’ me up a 4 and I feel like myself again/” – “Myself“
“Before I had money I swear that I had no life/
Now I get drunk and I’m smoking weed, popping pills all the time” – “My Mind“
“Feel like myself when I be on the drugs” – “Up“
“I make her think I love her just so I can fuck her when I want” – “Interlude“
NAV feels like the rap antithesis to The Weeknd’s early dark R&B as seen on The Trilogy. The drug-tinged, sex-laced lyrics under deep, eerie production is a theme in NAV as well as The Weeknd’s early mixtapes. The Weeknd’s early illangelo & Doc McKinney produced projects provide more variety in terms of vocal aesthetics. Nav doesn’t have the vocal aesthetic of The Weeknd (few artists do), but he manages to craft memorable melodies with a monotone delivery, which is quite impressive.
“This NAV project is nice, but listening to the lyrics he describes himself as if he’s a massive lame.”
I like how Nav utilizes adlibs as an extension to his bars. He’s able to add extra layers to his verses and double-up his rhymes by dropping well-placed adlibs. This is best seen on the song “Nav” and “Up“, two of my favorite songs on this mixtape:
“I might spend $800 on a shirt (Gucci down)
I just spent $300 on some percs (Bring me down)
Smoking super cookies I might fly away (super loud)
Cash got mad because I smoke a zip a day (Out the pound)“ – “Nav“
NAV is a fun project on surface level, but a much deeper, introspective project than it’s given credit for. Nav bounces around the same 2 or 3 topics on this project and it works for the most part. Other times, some songs are so similar that they feel too same-y and like filler and, at worse, groovy background noise. NAV is a solid debut and reveals some interesting truths and insecurities about Nav the rapper.
I’m much more interested in why Nav feels the need to indulge in drugs to “feel like himself”, rather than hearing his drug-tinged tirades about fucking chicks. Give us insight on what happened to you to make you this way, Nav, and your music will benefit as a result.
Favorite songs: “Nav“, “Up“, “Lonely“, “Mariah“, “Ttd”