Nav Plainly Reiterates the Same Rags to Riches Story He Did on His First Project; This Time With Better Beats
Last year was Nav’s best year of his life. His 2016 consisted of featured vocals on Kylie Jenner’s snapchat story and on Travis Scott’s “biebs in the trap” record, which earned the gold certification earlier this year. Still, he’s not exactly a household name just yet, but signing with fellow Toronto artist The Weeknd has certainly helped his case. In February, he released a self-titled debut mixtape, NAV. The album is a downward spiraling journey filled with severe drug dependence over numb, atmospheric instrumentals. At its peak, the project is an admirable come up story. He makes a clear indication that his surroundings have shifted since his cosigns, which drastically changed his life for the better. It seemed like any situation is better than being broke for Nav. It doesn’t matter if you’re drugged out of your mind when you have hundreds in your pockets. He also explains his life is too chaotic for love, as he raps about only encountering women for sexual favors.
It wasn’t one of the most impressive introductions in the world. There are a number of recycled and generic ideas on NAV and the basic lyrical content doesn’t help either. His willingness to confess that his life sucked so bad made me keep listening. Also, the quiet instrumentals and his monotone, somewhat emotionless autotuned vocals make this the perfect music for after hours whether you’re under the influence or not. Now, the Toronto artist is set to release a career defining project with Metro Boomin’. We saw what Metro’s talent did for 21 Savage. With today’s release of the collaborative mixtape, Perfect Timing, the question whether if Nav is a worthwhile artist is still in the air.
Two singles were set out prior to the release of Perfect Timing were kind of disappointing. A lot of Nav’s feel empty in the first place, but on The title track “Perfect Timing” many things were left desired. The flaws of Nav’s lyrical skill were made even more obvious by Metro Boomin’s more complex and intricate production. Since the production that carried Nav on his first mixtape was predominantly done by himself, I gave him a pass. The better of the two singles, “Call Me” struck me by surprise. Nav was no longer trying his absolute best to sound cool. Instead, he was very vulnerable in talking about ignoring calls from his own mother. I admit it was an interesting take on how the drugs and fame are taking over his life, but it really made me feel really sorry for him. His somewhat braggadocious tone was no longer and it made me wonder if his fans were really ready to take a deeper dive into his drugged out mind. Perfect Timing shows a darker and depressing side of Nav. He doesn’t use drugs for joy rides anymore; he uses them to numb his pain.
My number one concern listening to this album was whether he had enough talent to successfully express his sorrow while keeping me interested at the same time. That would depend on if “Call Me” was any indication of what the album would sound like (WHICH IT DID NOT). In better words, I hoped that he would be as truthful as possible to give me a better idea of the kind of person he is. Not only did I want him to take a stride lyrically, I wanted him to try different things vocally other than the same dry auto tune. Unsurprisingly, that was too much to ask.
The consistently outstanding Metro Boomin’ production definitely saved this album from complete disaster. Nonetheless, Nav failed to take it to another level. The faux braggadocious raps were back and had my eyes rolling. It was just drugs and repeated flows on every single track. I realized what I was in for on the third track, “Hit,” in which he talks about the same come up the story he talked about on the last album. He talks about drugs at such a surface level I don't even believe he really does them. The consensus for both of his projects is “I used to not have women, now I do” or “I used to not have enough financial security to develop a cool drug addiction, now I do.” The project got tired quickly. The only aspect that made songs sound different were the beats and the star studded features. There is no magic here that was created by Nav himself. He wasn’t good enough to be even the second best thing on this album. On “Held Me Down,” he suddenly speaks on his sincere feelings for a certain girl. It’s unfortunate that he uses the same vocal patterns. Literally, anyone can make this song. For those who don’t care about listening to albums in depth, you’ll most likely enjoy this project off the Metro beats alone. Despite that, in order to stay in the conversion, he has to stop being so below average.
Still, it has a purpose. If you are are a Nav fan, you have every reason to love this album. It’s great background music or nighttime driving music. It’s not great sex music though unless you want to feel corny.