Count on Me (Intro)
Last of the Mohicans
Demons in My Cup
Ball in Peace (Outro)
Toronto-hailing MC NAV is hurting on Demons Protected By Angels. “My heart been filled with pain/I just cover it up in Dior,” he raps on “Wrong Decisions.” One might have assumed that a wealth of hit singles, world tours, superstar artist collaborations, and a continually increasing number of streams would have made the self-proclaimed “hottest brown boy in the game” a little more comfortable with his life than he sounded on the altogether groundbreaking “Myself,” but one would have been wrong. And on Demons Protected By Angels, he’s coming clean about what’s eating at him.
The album opens with “Count on Me (Intro),” a song that would work as a cry for help if it weren’t also a declaration of his own mettle. (If there’s one person NAV can count on, it’s himself.) It’s not long thereafter that we get the kind of Robin Leach-chronicled lifestyle flexes and I’ve-already-beaten-the-odds rhetoric we’ve become accustomed to hearing from the MC. Helping to sow that legend here are Lil Uzi Vert, Travis Scott, Lil Baby, Future, and Lil Durk, among others.
But NAV balances this suffering from success with a heap of love songs, reflecting throughout on what a good woman should bring to the table (“Baby”), how it feels to genuinely miss someone special (“Don’t Compare”), the pain that lingers after someone you want doesn’t want you (“Lost Me”), and what it’s like to want to give a failed relationship another shot (“Reset”). He’s not without responsibility for his melancholy (“I live the wrong way and I know it,” he raps on “Loaded”), but look no further than “Demons in My Cup” for confirmation that the NAV of 2022 is still very much the NAV of 2017’s “Myself”: imperfect person and undeniable hitmaker.