Nav – Bad Habits

25 March 2019 / by Demar Grant
Album Image for Nav - Bad Habits (Released 2019-03-22  by XO Records & Republic Records)
Album reviews
Nav Bad Habits
Released: March 22, 2019
Label: XO Records & Republic Records
Melodic Trap / Rap / Trap
Future / Gunna / Young Thug
Tap, Habits, Know Me

Never trust a rapper who says they’re retiring. Nav never really liked Reckless so it wasn’t a surprise to see him drop another project in less than a year. Bad Habits was Nav’s chance to rectify a false start that was his debut but his sophomore effort fails to get out of the lyrical blocks. Nav claims to be “the first brown boy to get it poppin’,” yet he doesn’t mention much beyond that in his tracks.

‘Tap’ (the best song on the jawn) features Meek Mill switching flows halfway through 16 bars over counting hi-hats, thumping 808’s and a seesawing piano. Meek is able to stick on a topic per flow while still keeping the raps braggadocious with couplet rhymes letting you know “I got cake, I stay humble, know I’m the man for real/ I got hitters, we don’t rumble, tell your mans to chill/”. This is all before Nav goes on to rap about having (and previously not having) money, having hitters, having sex and having fame.

‘Tap’ only has two verses and yet Nav spans multiple half-baked ideas in a single frame to make it nearly incoherent. But that’s Nav’s formula: money, hoes and clothes. Every bar on Bad Habits bounces from molehill to molehill in an effort to spit as many clichés possible over trap production.

Nav’s delivery also never varies from his trademark monotone robotic voice reminiscent of fifth grade speeches. On ‘Hold Your Breathe’ a track about Nav and Gunna’s endless drip, Nav does his best Microsoft Sam impersonation rapping “Everybody can’t be a starter, play your role (Role)/ Keep a 30 so I ain’t gotta reload (Load)/ When your car go fast it comes with different modes (Skrrt)/” over a twinkling, spacious beat with unending rattling hi-hats.

Nav is the Canadian answer to Gunna, inconsequential opulent raps without substance lace their songs to point of irreverence for the craft. Not only are the lyrics empty, the ad-libs are also lazy. Lines across Bad Habits are constantly punctuated with ad-libs that simply repeat the last word(s) of bars as if they’re profound rhymes instead of typical rap mantra.

The highest points on this album are when Nav isn’t present. Meek Mill posturing on ‘Tap’ is the best he’s done in years and Young Thug’s hook on ‘Tussin’ is fun even though it meanders just as frequently as Nav’s rhymes.

The Weeknd’s appearance on the Castlevania-meets-hi-hats track, ‘Price on My Head’, could have been a high mark if his hook vocals weren’t auto-tuned to irritability.

The rest of Bad Habits is slightly listenable flotsam.

Nav is good for a feature where he’s able to spit 16 auto-tuned bars but over Bad Habits’ 51-minute run time his skills as an emcee are exposed as underdeveloped. The lyrics are generic and corny (see: Nav’s use of “ting” on ‘Ralo’) while the production is also generic and uninspired. When Nav asks “what’s the game without me?” on ‘I’m Ready’ the answer is: exactly same.