On Wednesday Rexdale's own NAV released his first track featuring the King of the Fall. I say 'first track' because there's no doubting the two have other heater's tucked away on a hard drive somewhere. The release once again reminded me of how far the brown boy has come in the one year since I met him.
Last year in February I had the opportunity to sit down with Nav at a studio in Kensington Market for a well known publication. That interview will never see the light of day for many different reasons, but the impression the young artist left on me is one I won't forget. He was confident and eloquent during our conversation which was his first interview ever. I spoke about that meeting with Mississauga artist Chillaa, who worked out of the same Kensington Studio.
It was the start of All Star Weekend in Toronto when I headed down on the 505 streetcar to Nav's Kensington studio. He was wearing a black and gold track suit with a simple chain and a pair of white Jordans when we met. He rolled a backwoods and motioned for the pretty girl sitting beside him to make some space, when I stepped into the second floor studio. She asked if I was Persian and ignored me for the rest of the interview when I said I wasn't.
This was 2016 and Nav had been releasing a single every month for the past 4 months. He was doing tens of thousands of streams on SoundCloud and had just been featured on OVO Sound Radio. I wanted to know how he got his start, what made him decide to hop on his own beats and what he thought his future looked like.
2016 was the best year of my life— Nav (@beatsbynav) December 31, 2016
Between answering questions he would take a drag from his blunt and carefully articulate his response. He graciously answered all of my question except when I started to go in depth on a possible OVO affiliation. That line from 'On My Own,' got my city speculating cause theres owls on my linen, was ringing in my head and I had to ask. In retrospect its obvious why he didn't go into it, it was around this time I believe he was starting talks with XO.
Since speaking with NAV in that Kensington studio a lot has happened. He was featured on Travis $cott's last album, he's working on a mixtape with Metro Boomin and he will be performing his first show ever at Coachella. Last week he also announced via twitter that his first project will be released by the end of this month.
I expect the release will be some of his best work to date. He's been flexing with the likes of Belly, MetroBoomin, French Montana and The Weeknd in LA and I don't doubt they've hopped into studio at some point. In 2016 Nav went from a Kensington Studio to working with the Starboy; I don't expect him to slowdown in 2017.