When Emergency Tsunami transitions from the “Breaking News Intro” into the triumphant “Friends & Family,” the Wheezy-produced effort shows promise–but only for so long.
The year has been a busy one for NAV with the XO signee unleashing the full-length Good Intentions album this year only to follow it up with a deluxe double album in tow. So when listeners turn on the surprise Emergency Tsunami drop, it appears to be a powerful closure to the year’s catalog for the Canadian artist, but it quickly falls flat.
Pushing past “Friends & Family” and the Gunna-assisted “Young Weezy” opens up a familiar tracklist of the same formula that NAV has stuck to for years now. While his consistency is commendable, the lack of variety leaves room for uninspired reoccurrences. While he finds his stride on cuts like “Nasty” and “Vetement Socks,” it loses luster when the same identity permeates throughout the remaining tracklist. The lyrical content doesn’t veer much from the same boasts of suites in Beverly Hills and flat memories of the road to luxury while his familiar cadence finds no variation.
What Emergency Tsunami successfully does, however, is to place the production of Wheezy front and center. It’s in this moment that the southern beatmaker’s signature truly unfolds. Even without a tag, the author is clear. Wheezy supplies the force that powers much of Emergency Tsunami.
All the while, NAV should be credited with appropriately selecting the producer who best frames his delivery. The same can be said of his choice of collaborators with Atlanta’s stamp planted firmly on Tsunami. Gunna, Young Thug, Lil Baby, Lil Keed, and SahBabii all shine in their performances and the influence is clear with their own lingo leaking into NAV’s own repertoire.
“My baby don’t play, Chanaynay her shades,” he raps on “Vetement Socks.”
The South’s influence on the 31-year-old’s career is obvious, and in Emergency Tsunami he plays proper homage, doubling down with a Future-assisted “Stella McCartney” on the effort’s deluxe outing.
For fans who are enthusiastic about the same sounds that bought them into NAV’s orbit in the first place, Emergency Tsunami is a gem, but for those of us hoping to see the Toronto-bred rapper push himself past established plateaus, the wave misses the mark.