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Navy Blue - Navy’s Reprise Music Album Reviews

Navy Blue - Navy’s Reprise Music Album Reviews
Coming on the heels of two stellar 2020 albums, one of the best new voices in underground hip-hop sounds a little looser and lighter, but still keeps his raps bracingly personal. 

Before sharing a pair of soul-bearing 2020 albums that established him as a new scion of cerebral, lo-fi hip-hop, Navy Blue released a lot of music that very few people heard. Most of it was tucked away on an anonymous SoundCloud account, or on projects that played like demos and beat tapes, rough drafts fishing for completed thoughts. Two years after revealing his identity, some listeners are still surprised to learn that the man behind those projects is Sage Elsesser, an accomplished skateboarder and a model for skatewear brands like Supreme (although Elsesser's proximity to Odd Future and his credits on Frank Ocean’s Blonde might have been giveaways that he had musical ambitions.)

Perhaps Elsesser was just waiting until he honed his craft to go public. If his early tapes were solid, 2020's Àdá Irin and Song of Sage: Post Panic! were frequently brilliant, fine-tuned with a poet’s precision and an arthouse director’s control of mood. Yet if he’s looking to capitalize on the acclaim those projects earned him with his third album, Navy’s Reprise, he sure isn’t showing it. Surprise released with a bare minimum of promotion on his social channels, the album is, for the time being, available only as a digital download on his website for $20—hardly an egregious sum, and a good $10-$20 cheaper than some Roc Marciano digital albums will run you, yet still an uncommon barrier to entry for music in today’s economy.

What most separated Navy Blue’s 2020 albums from his SoundCloud loosies—as well as his many peers making similarly underground hip-hop—was Elsesser's intensely autobiographical focus. Those same themes of trauma, resilience, and recovery carry through Navy's Reprise. “This is personal” he repeats over the sampled fanfare of the opener “Light.” Elsesser is most moving when he testifies to the power of familial bonds and ancestral ties, and he slips those sentiments everywhere. Most of these songs include tributes to his mom, dad, and sisters, as well as the literal and figurative brothers who shaped him. On “Timberwolves” he’s recharged by a visit to his grandma, who tells him he has his grandfather’s eyes.

Elsesser is seldom showy—like most lyricists in the loops-and-rhymes lane of rap, he works from a spartan palette of cadences—yet his voice can reveal meaningful tells. When he looks back at his childhood on “Peach Cobbler,” his flow is hued with an almost Mac Miller-esque boyishness. When he recalls an ambiguous family tragedy on “HGTV,” it aches, like he’s physically reliving the experience. “My laugh sermon/My past murdered/My back hurtin’,” he raps.

Navy’s Reprise is a touch more down the middle than its predecessors, the pain still present but less front and center, the production less askew. Here, his producers fillet their shag-carpet soul samples down to just the choice cuts, with fewer of the off-kilter crops that lent a nervy edge to Àdá Irin and Song of Sage. Yet if Navy’s Reprise lacks some of the heft and invention of those albums—if it feels less like a statement and more like, in the words of his collaborator and former roommate Earl Sweatshirt, some rap songs—it isn’t to the music’s detriment. The lighter mood frees Elsesser for shit-kicking bars like, “They can’t even swim around the moat, toss ’em in Dawson’s Creek/All these white teens suck, I don't know defeat, I know growth,” along with copious jovial references to food and athletes. Àdá Irin and Song of Sage stood out for their loftiness, but the world needs projects like this, too, well-rounded rap albums that acknowledge trauma without being defined by it.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Navy Blue - Navy’s Reprise Music Album Reviews Navy Blue - Navy’s Reprise Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, June 09, 2021 Rating: 5

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