Ways of Knowing – [Navy Blue]

Multi-talented Los Angeles emcee Navy Blue, who also happens to be one of my all-time favorite philosophical rappers, recently released his highly anticipated debut album Ways of Knowing under Def Jam Recordings, a historic label that he now calls home. The album features 13 cuts that display the rapper, producer, and skateboarder’s brilliant songwriting and poetic abilities over intricately moving beats that are sure to take you on a poignant voyage.

Throughout the project, Navy explores a selection of matters including moments of insecurity, infatuation, and introspection. The project’s opening song, “The Medium”, shares piano melodies that initiate a profound atmosphere as the emcee’s words cut through altered samples like butter. “To Fall in Love” has a sentimental lovestruck tune that takes you way back in time, and even though this time machine might predate some of the actual listeners’ age groups, it is easily ingested and even more easily enjoyed.

The effort finishes with “Shadow’s Shield,” where Navy presents an interesting buildup of energy with his powerful words. This record is a trademark example of how Ways of Knowing destroys the preconceived notions that a casual listener might look at when examining the world of rap. Overall, the album reflects on Navy’s idea of trying to make music that causes people to smile out of joy, not out of grief, as he mentioned in a recent interview. I say this because it truly does share the lyricist’s power to construct expressive, positive tracks while still delivering insightful messages.

Overall, Ways of Knowing is a fantastic album from the Los Angeles native. It demonstrates his unbelievable skillset and artistic changeability, while in the same breath, the instrumentation, as well as lyrical depth, are second to none, and that’s saying a lot for someone who is still finding their footing in this industry. Navy Blue certainly makes statements left and right whenever he drops something new, so if you’re a fan of reflective and emotive music, Ways of Knowing is a must-listen.