Navy Blue is a New York rapper and producer with a penchant for crafting raw, introspective lyrics that weave seamlessly in and out of serene, minimalist beats. Released in the final days of 2020, Song of Sage: Post Panic! offers a deeper look into the burgeoning MC’s reflective mind through the lens of his own depression, family history, and internal aspirations. With strong ties to prominent underground figures like MIKE and Earl Sweatshirt, it’s no surprise to see how quickly Navy Blue’s profile has risen in recent years. His second release in 10 months, Song of Sage sports production spots and features from the likes of Evidence, Yasiin Bey, and Billy Woods, among other touted hip-hop veterans. However, the principle voice of the album belongs solely to Navy Blue, whose deep meditations on identity and purpose feel as if they are born directly out of last year’s inescapable isolation.
Backing this constant array of soul-cleansing bars are woozy and atmospheric beats that veer towards either spacious and synth-heavy soundscapes or hypnotic and jazzy sample loops. Whether ambient or abstract, Navy Blue does each of these production styles justice, spilling his guts via line-by-line catharsis, as he learns to cope with life and his personal traumas. From the laconic piano riffs on “Post Panic!” and the enveloping mist that makes up “Self Harm,” to the syncopated rhythms of “1491” and the spiritual self-analysis of “Moment Hung,” his voice finds the dusty pockets of each instrumental with ease, like a somber poet settling into a groove on stage, channeling the complexities of severe emotional distress in each and every word.