Nav has been a darling of hip-hop forums and blogs for a while now, but is a relative newcomer to the charts. The “first brown boy to get it poppin’”  (“Some Way,” NAV)  drew a crowd, and after murmurs of his affiliation with The Weeknd, his mysterious persona facilitated his rise to stardom.

Personified by his atmospheric production and somber melodies, Nav’s style can be thought of as a capitalization on the dark, melodic direction Toronto rap has been following. Complaints about Nav’s style revolve around his songs being too boring and repetitive. Nav caters to this by making NAV (2017) a mere 34 minutes; a debut any shorter would be a random collection of songs barely whispering “I’m here.”

With no minutes to waste, NAV makes his character known immediately on the introductory “Myself,” introducing unknown listeners to his enjoyment — maybe even adoration — of drugs. The album takes its turns like a drug trip, with songs keeping their core strengths of repetitive, melodic hooks, but still making confined and almost calculated changes in each beat.  

My complaints with NAV are its lack of new songs — “Myself” is over one year old, as is “TTD” and “Up,” produced by Metro Boomin, has been in circulation for about seven months. Add that to the fact that “Interlude” integrates a song released in 2015. It’s understandable why he added them — it’s good for exposure and creates a coherent sound for listeners. It’s just frustrating to see that the world’s introduction to Nav still leaves some listeners wanting to know more. This “debut” is only 34 minutes after all. Nav: we get it, you like the mystery. Whatever – it’s just annoying that he put old songs on. The tape’s lone feature is The Weeknd, who unsurprisingly overshadows Nav on “Some Way” while awkwardly dissing Justin Bieber. In a lot of ways, “Some Way” is just cringe: why diss a pop singer? Who cares?

Nav could, and should, have stepped up his game on “Some Way” for the more casual listeners.

NAV is a stand out project for its characterized production and bringing Nav’s somber, soothing melodies and drug-induced raps into the world. Although the subject matter isn’t innovative in any way, don’t let people tell you it’s too repetitive-just change the song. Every artist has his or her style. This is Nav’s. Say hello.

Written by Edrees Fazel

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