Canada’s Hip-Hop/R&B scene has been on a run as of late with Drake and The Weeknd as their front runners. Complementary to Drake’s OVO (October’s Very Own) is The Weeknd’s XO label. Founded in 2012, XO plays home to The Weeknd, Belly, 88 Glam, and Toronto’s own Producer/Rapper Nav. Nav’s debut album “Reckless” released on May 18th, accompanied with rumors of a follow up mixtape to Perfect Timing.
A low and moody melodic tune, as expected from Nav. What’s appreciated by the sound is that it meets the criteria to XO’s style of music, therefore we receive dark tunes with solid melodies. Sounds of a tropical rain forest during a nightly occurrence of heavy rain. It’s been a trend for producers to step out from behind the keys and in front of a mic. Some producers should simply stick to producing. As a result, Nav knows his sound and doesn’t travel far in experimentation. Not many artists are successful in this style of hip-hop without sounding like someone else.
“Wanted You”, released 11/3/2017, is the first single to this project. Featuring a flamboyant, Lil Uzi Vert, the video was dropped in January of this year. The song sets the mood with a phone conversation between Uzi and a girl speaking on sending nudes. Then leads into the deception of believing they were once allured by this woman. Therefore, a breakup track for a summer fling is what this song represents. Imagine riding around with your crew on an LA boardwalk and playing this song at high volumes.
As a direct response to XXL’s annual freshman list, “Freshman List” explains Nav’s feelings towards the magazine. Brings up his successes and even drops a line about his recent interviews with established media outlets. It sounds like a love song about “why did you chose him over me?”, the sad sort of whiny song. Honestly, the Freshmen list hasn’t been too relevant in the past 3 years (2015 being the last list of actual rappers). There’s quite a few artists who denied being listed and their career is going quite well.
Lighter sound than expected, “Champion” is a celebration of success for Nav. Featuring hip-hop’s version to Cactus Jack, Travis Scott. A motivational tune to live a fast life yet keep your hookups subtle. There’s been a recent wave of rappers to suggest chasing their dreams over chasing women. This kind of suggestion will make your grandmother proud and build focus on the task at hand if you’re goal oriented.
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Overall, expectations were set pretty low for a new sound on this album. Production is great, however Nav sings the same tune on the entire album. His flow on some tracks seemed to have to many words in lines and it gets choppy. I admire the effort; however this act is one dimensional. Each track reminds you of a kid that’s been picked on for trying to hard to be original. I’m no advocate for bullying, but in Hip-Hop, sounding like a sad boy wouldn’t get anyone far.
The full track-listing for ‘Reckless’ is…
1. Reckless 2. Never Change 3. Hold Your Hand 4. Faith f. Quavo 5. Champion f. Travis Scott 6. Glow Up 7. Just Happened 8. Wanted You f. Lil Uzi Vert 9. With Me 10. Eat f. Gunna 11. Freshman List 12. What I Need / Daheala Outro