I first tapped into Navy Blue following his feature on “The Mint” by Earl Sweatshirt. On one of my favorite albums, the track was a standout as one of the leading singles and a powerful introduction to the underground hip hop world, currently leading an artistic revolution. From the likes of artists such as MIKE, Earl Sweatshirt, MAVI, and Navy Blue, there is record upon record of dreamy looping production, soulful samples, and line after line of timeless poetry. Together, this budding scene speaks for a generation of unheard voices and molds spiritual insights well beyond their years.
At just 23 years old, Navy Blue is truly one of the underground’s leading tastemakers. As a skater, model, producer, and artist, the young talent is shining in all facets of the creative mind. Most recently, he added again to this growing catalog of sounds with his late 2020 record, Songs of Sage: Post Panic!
As a whole, the LP is one of healing, the title’s reference to sage providing insights into themes of reflection, evaluation, and growth. Navy Blue touches upon themes of living in a spiraling pandemic, to gentrification, to the struggles of African Americans, and hones in on a central theme of uniting body, mind, and soul. All of this profound and necessary dialogue is balanced musically with outstanding production that features emotional samples, ear-catching synths, and the always particular production of the “experimental-hip hop” scene.
With 18 tracks, the project runs at just 53 minutes in total. Many of the tracks run under three minutes highlighting an emphasis on concision, a style that makes each word and line count more than ever. From the field there were several personal standouts: “Tired”, “Deep Water Blue”, “Alignment”, and “Moment Hung” all carry a powerful sentiment and musicality to match.
Just second on the tracklist, “Tired” is one of the most poetic and needed songs on the record. A true reflection of 2020 in terms of police brutality, gun violence, and the often unspoken trauma that comes with it all. Opening the track is a brief dialogue expressing the raw emotion of seeing countless images of lost lives and the ensuing fear for when one may be next. Over panning pad-synths and glitchy effects, Navy Blue speaks of past-generational trauma and the spiritual nature of the body. I can not overstate the masterful talent behind this track. To capture raw emotion and maintain clever internal rhymes and quotable maxims as Navy Blue does is a gift.
The LP as a whole is a complete must listen. “Tired” is a mere representation of the constantly insightful world within Navy Blue’s poetry. Listen to this album in its entirety, in order, and use it to reflect on the year that has passed. Song of Safe: Post Panic! Is a healing practice and a true treat, listen now!