NAV finally has fully recovered from his downward slope. After countless albums of disappointing collaborations & lackluster performances, NAV finally bounces back to make a cohesive project. While there were the couple of tracks that would make the projects enjoyable, none of them come together quite like this one.
On the production end, this project soars above all the others. While NAV was working with top tier producers like Wheezy & Metro Boomin’, they continuously resulted in completely uninspired results. On this project, it is filled with lively beats brought by a broad range of producers to bring a nice variety. He also contributes his own production, something that made his early material such as self-titled feel much more organic.
His voice, if it doesn’t do anything for you, it won’t do anything here. His still very stuck in his own style, a semi-robotic auto-tuned delivery that coasts along. Thankfully, with the heavyweight features & producers he moves to the rhythms well. On the more upbeat production, he feels perfectly confident & at home rather than slightly insecure like the earlier material.
Where he gets to shine though are his airy, self-produced tracks. The intro to the album feels like an immediate throwback to his Self-Titled & Soundcloud days, where he brings together a beautifully layered song & lyrics about his own self-worth. These always wind up his best, his sound selection is quite ranged featuring all kinds of synth & drum sounds. We see it once again with “Wrong Decisions,” where he builds off of the previous depressing themes of his earlier work & applies those to his life in the thick of the fame.
Nav – Ball In Peace
The themes of the album don’t come clear until the final track. Rarely do the titles of his albums seem to actually matter, but on “Ball in Peace,” it comes all together in one of the his most personal tracks. In a track dedicated to a friend of him that had passed, it recounts all the memories & struggles he currently feels about him.
Its only here where the album title comes together, as it highlights the strange state that him & his closest friends are in, where they recognize the reckless lifestyle but feel lucky enough to stay here. Ending with a luxurious outro that sounds like something out of the end of a Oneohtrix Point Never Uncut Gems track, it sounds like that twisted send off the movie does as well.
Supported by a fantastic feature list of some of the biggest out today, NAV’s return is a confident release with plenty of notable moments from himself. A lot of times it would feel as if he gets overshadowed or is the weakest link of the track. Here however, he does just as well as his contemporaries. With this upgrade of presence on a track, along with fresh production, he brings his best album in years.