NAV still loves drugs.
It’s been five months since the Rexdale, Ontario-bred rapper-singer and producer released his major label debut, a forgettable collection of the same song made 11 times—one with a feature from The Weeknd, who signed NAV to his XO imprint and is taking him on a world tour later this year.
A few catchy moments aside, the self-titled project was a painfully repetitive listen, filled with generic raps, sleepy production and one flow.
If NAV by NAV produced by NAV was too much NAV at once, then perhaps Perfect Timing, his highly touted collaborative follow-up with Metro Boomin—one of the most respected and prominent producers in hip-hop and co-producer of NAV standout “Up”—might be an improvement.
Turns out, not by much.
Even with a star-studded guest list counting features from Lil Uzi Vert (twice), 21 Savage, Gucci Mane, Offset, Playboi Carti and Belly, Perfect Timing is nothing more than a waste of really good production as NAV strengthens his hold on the crown for the most boring person in hip-hop.
Not once on the project do we come close to ever actually learning about NAV as a person beyond constant reminders that he used to be broke and is now very rich, and the lyrics play out like a Mad Libs of 2017 rap clichés about drugs, sex, money and having shooters on-hand.
While this criticism could be aimed at a large number of popular artists not named NAV, it’s magnified in NAV’s case because he adds nothing as a vocalist. There is melody but no charisma whatsoever—every line is delivered in the same emotionless tone and often the same flow. It’s like Siri made a rap album.
For many, the absurdity of lines like “Won’t come to your wedding ‘cause I don’t wanna wear a suit,” “I’ma go and spend your rent on underwear” or “I’m eating Cajun salmon used to eat Taco Bell” would be endearing; I can picture myself laughing hearing each of those as a 2 Chainz punchline. In NAV’s humorless, computerized Auto-Tune, they land like jokes that everyone is in on besides NAV.
Any extent to which I’d feel my critique is too harsh is offset by the fact that, for most of the project, NAV reminds me how often he has sex with my girlfriend. He also insists that he’s a "piece of shit." In many cases, villains possess enough charm and magnetism that you find yourself rooting for them; in NAV’s case, that never happens.
Luckily, there are a number of prominent features who liven things up with some much-needed energy and enthusiasm. Unluckily, that doesn't actually happen. Outside of Belly's contribution, all the guests sound like they've done all the painkillers NAV raps about before hopping in the booth, turning in drowsy, disappointing verses.
As for positives, Metro Boomin's production is ominous and brain-rattling throughout, with beats that match NAV's flow in chilly disconnect but possess enough knock to keep you from falling into a daze. Also, the cover art is really great.
Now, where's that Metro Boomin solo project?
Three Standout Songs:
Second best beat on the project.
“A$AP Ferg” ft. Lil Uzi Vert
Was there any question that a song called "A$AP Ferg" was going to be about putting in work?
“Did You See NAV?”
Best beat on the project.