One can talk about Navy Blue, to begin with, by presenting facts that support the “original” classification with which he is so often described: the artist who currently lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York, is about to turn 25, is a soccer fan (an Arsenal fan! ), has been a professional skater with connections to the Fucking Awesome brand/store (and that’s fucking awesome, of course), a model chosen to represent brands like Supreme, and, for example, is a childhood friend of Earl Sweatshirt, an artist with whom he has collaborated in different instances – as a rapper, producer, or designer. Navy Blue, you realize, is many things. And in all of them he manages to be (there you go…) profoundly original.
This year alone, Navy Blue has put his name to long projects alongside ANKHLEJOHN (As Above, So Below) and Akai Solo (True Sky), and has also released Navy’s Reprise on digital platforms without any help, taking over all sides of the project. And this followed two long records (Àdá Irin and Song of Sage: Post Panic!) in 2020. If it’s like this in pandemic times, imagine with the open world!
Sage Elesser by his real name is indeed a sage (translation of Sage…) born to make a mark in hip hop. Not even on purpose, he has Ka, the elusive and mystical rapper who makes his living as a captain in a fire station in New York City, as a major reference, a hero he met in Brooklyn through Earl Sweatshirt.
Raised in Los Angeles, Elesser is the son of an African-American singer and a Chilean drummer/percussionist. It was his father who gave him his first sampler, and the rest, you could say, is the story that has been written in golden letters in recent years, translating into a series of works that are modern cult classics.
Endowed with a singular capacity for introspection, Navy Blue creates music founded in African-American musical identity (soul and jazz seem to run abundantly in his veins and in the circuits of his sampler) that he adorns with a quiet delivery, crossing deep words with ideas about himself, the abysses of the ego, life, and the eternal questions to which the wise men have always dedicated themselves. And it is this aura that explains why he has been called to produce and collaborate with the likes of Mach Hommy, Tha God Fahim, Moor Mother and Billy Brooks, Armand Hammer, or the aforementioned Ka and Earl Sweatshirt: a list of true luminaries who have ensured that the most genuine flame of this art of arranging ideas in the form of cadenced words over beats laden with drama and landscapes is never extinguished.
To listen to Navy Blue is to see those inner movies, to hear stories that are acute allegories of the life we all come across. And it all becomes even more poignant on stage, when there are no other artifices to support this ability to touch the other that don’t boil down to a magnetic presence and a solid artistic quality. RMA