The running narrative about Nav is that his sound is robotic to the point of sounding computer generated. However, this narrative is flawed. This narrative comparing Nav to a computer generated program is in many ways an insult to both Nav and computers. For, when we equalize the two through this comparison, we assert that computer generated music has to be mediocre and we undermine Nav’s achievements in the field of mediocrity.
To say a rapper is bad or unlistenable is common in contemporary hip-hop, but Nav dodges these adjectives by being so irrefutably mediocre. This album is so bland, so absolutely flavorless, it’s not even good enough to be bad. Rather, it dedicates itself to being as little as possible. Reckless is the musical equivalent to taping a white sheet of paper onto a white wall and calling it a poster. It’s almost a joke in and of itself.
The lyrics are so basic that they become contradictory for the sake of trying to be like other rap songs. In “Glow Up,” Nav says “I write my own words” in the same song he says “I couldn’t tell nouns from a verb.” It shows, making this the most honest set of bars on the album. There’s nothing to suggest Nav knows what to do when making a song, only evidence of him jumping into trends like someone begging to be liked. Consider the ad libs on this “thing.” When Nav says “Molly, Percocet” on “Champions,” I imagine him as a middle schooler singing the Future song as he walks home from basketball tryouts. Nav lacks any real personality, charisma, or style in his delivery or writing. It’s just goofy, plain and simple.
Plain and simple would be the adjectives to describe Reckless sonically as well, though without the positive edge those words have taken on better albums. While many other records require a trained ear to ensure the listener receives the totality of the sound, Reckless requires a trained eye in order to ensure you’re advancing through the tracklist and don’t have one song set on repeat. Instrumentally, this project is wall to wall basic trap beats. While Nav brags about producing these instrumentals, there’s nothing impressive or moderately memorable about any of the sounds here. Every single beat is lowkey until around the five or fifteen second mark when the inevitable trap drums come in. It’s beyond predictable; it’s just lazy.
However, despite all of this, I can’t deny Nav’s only virtue: the man is hilarious. Not intentionally, but that doesn’t change the fact that he always brings out a laugh. While most of these lyrics are painfully basic, Nav occasionally comes through with something so weak it lends itself to comedy. “I like the feeling of sand on my feet / So I brought a Draco to the beach” is funny both because it paints this ridiculous picture of an armed Nav wearing swim shorts and because it follows the Dr. Seuss rhyme scheme Nav never breaks away from. “Look at my fit, You know I’m Nav, I didn’t pay for it” is also a personal favorite, as the track “Hold Your Hand” has this condescending theme of keeping money to oneself which climaxes perfectly with the arrogance of this line. There’s just something hilarious about the fact that being Nav merits being given things. Being Nav doesn’t even seem to merit the ability to express emotion through tone.
Brutal as this review has been, each word is summoned directly by this albums dedication to averageness. At least when a record is bad, it is bad because it tried to do something and failed. The problem with Reckless is not that it fails in its chief endeavor. In fact, it’s greatly successful in being basic. Rather, the problem is that, though it is achieves its goal, it was a goal that was never worth achieving.