Nav has been making waves in hip hop since he first emerged on the scene. The Canadian artist has played a role in some of hip hop’s most notable hits in recent memory. He started his musical journey as a producer and gained popularity as a rapper. Known for his distinctly nasal tone and auto-tuned melodies, Nav has consistently released albums since 2017 and collaborated with the biggest names in hip hop. Rooted in a musical background, Nav’s uncle was a Punjabi musician from India, inspiring him to become interested in creating music of his own. He got his start uploading songs on Soundcloud and YouTube in 2015.
His keen ear for melody and production on early songs like 2016’s “Myself” landed him a record deal. That same year, Nav signed with fellow Toronto native The Weeknd’s XO and its parent company Republic Records, joining the superstar singer and Palestinian-Canadian rapper Belly. Proud of his Punjabi roots, Nav proclaimed himself “the first brown boy to get it poppin’.” Now a multi-platinum artist and Juno Award nominee, he has propelled himself to new heights of success. Today, we take a look at the career of Nav so far.
Nav's Hand in Production
Before breaking out into notoriety and climbing onto the charts as an artist, Nav found early success as a producer. He co-produced Drake’s 2015 lethal diss against Meek Mill, “Back to Back" and is also credited on the track as a songwriter. Following that hit, he released “Myself,” a viral song that captured the ear of his now-manager, Cash XO. Nav’s production style often consists of moody and spacious trap beats, allowing room for a rapper to provide catchy melodies.
Primarily crafting beats for his own albums and his XO affiliates, Nav notably co-produced “Friends" from Everything is Love, JAY-Z and Beyoncé’s 2018 collaborative album as The Carters. The first song to garner him mainstream attention as both a producer and featured artist was Travis Scott’s “Beibs in the Trap” back in 2016. Since then, the two have become frequent collaborators. Working with notable names in hip hop has allowed Nav to grow in popularity and expand his fanbase.
Collaboration is one of Nav’s strong suits, as his most successful songs have been in tandem with another artist. He has been featured on songs from Young Thug, AJ Tracey, Headie One, A$AP Ferg, and many more. Nav’s biggest guest features include his work with Travis Scott on the aforementioned “Biebs in the Trap” and “Yosemite” from Astroworld. Additionally, he was featured on the massive hit “Lemonade” with Internet Money, Gunna, and Don Toliver.
While many tap Nav for features, the Canadian rapper and producer has recruited prominent names for his own tracks. Most of Nav’s most significant hits feature artists like The Weeknd, Lil Uzi Vert, Meek Mill, and Gunna, all of which are multi-platinum in Canada and the United States. His highest charting single is 2020’s “Turks” with Gunna and Travis Scott, peaking at No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100. Nav's biggest hits and collaborations appear on his numerous albums and mixtapes, which he releases quite frequently.
Between producing for other artists and lending vocals to tracks from his contemporaries, Nav has been busily working on his own music. He has actively released a full-length album almost every year since 2017. His first initial releases were considered commercial mixtapes, including his self-titled debut and Perfect Timing with Metro Boomin. Nav released his debut studio album, Reckless, in 2018, followed by 2019’s Brown Boy and Bad Habits, which went No. 1. His consistent release schedule has remained active in the new decade. He started 2020 by releasing the chart-topping project Good Intentions, along with Brown Boy 2 and Emergency Tsunami that same year.
Nav’s most recent album, Demons Protected by Angels, was released in 2022. With a rapidly growing music catalog, he continues building buzz for himself. He also does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Nav continues to add to his extensive discography with his upcoming album, Nav 2, set to be released later this year. He toured North America in 2023, generating excitement for his new project. With a new album dropping almost every year, Nav’s fanbase has continued to grow, making even larger waves for himself.