NAV’s name had been getting thrown around for a while and in the past couple of months I kept seeing posts on social media about some mixtape he had just released. I had no idea who he was, but eventually I learned that he was signed to The Weeknd’s XO label. From what I can recall he’s the first act off the label to release a full project so I was curious to see if he actually deserved all the hype or if it was just a case of people showing blind loyalty to a brand.
Production wise NAV was pretty much exactly what I expected to hear from an artist signed to the XO camp. It’s that same lo-fi, moody music that The Weeknd helped popularize some years back now. If he had come out 5 or 6 years ago then it might have been a novel sound but now that seemingly every new artist adopts this same sort of style (and better) it’s just not that interesting anymore. Outside of a few tracks like “Myself”, “Some Way”, and “Lonely” there’s nothing special or original here that differentiates him from the other acts out there.
“I was sober for an hour but I’m rollin’ off a bean now
The drugs, they give me confidence, I’m sayin’ what I mean now
The xannies help me slow up, the lean it help me speed down”
The same thing can be said about the “rapping.” There’s just nothing interesting here. I have no clear image of who Nav is as a person or an artist, as he just raps about whatever’s trending at the moment. Pills? Check. Lean? Check. Fashion? Check. That’s a problem, especially when he has no discernible lyrical ability, from a technical or stylistic standpoint. I don’t understand the hype this project got outside of being associated with The Weeknd. He sounds like just another trendy rapper who went through the checklist of everything that’s considered cool at the moment, and these acts are a dime a dozen these days.
Have you heard NAV? What’d you think about it? Did you think he did anything different than all the other “trendy” rappers out there? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your rating for the album.