Since the summer commenced, NAV had been steadily marching towards the release of his brand new studio album Demons Protected by Angels. Making his official full-length return on Sept. 9, this new LP marks the return of one of the genre’s most beloved figures.
Demons Protected by Angels includes both an incredibly vibrant, colorful artwork and an eye-opening, loaded track list. With assists from Future, Gunna, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Durk, Don Toliver, Bryson Tiller, Realest K and Babyface Ray, on top of the already released track “Never Sleep,” with Travis Scott and Lil Baby, it’s clear NAV’s status in the rap game is upper echelon.
In the handful of weeks after the album’s arrival, NAV delivered the project’s second, third, fourth and fifth music videos for the sixth song “One Time” with Future and Don Toliver, the fourteenth song “Lost Me” with fellow Toronto native Realest K, “Never Sleep” months after its initial release and “Last of the Mohicans” on Sept. 29. Whether it be lounging in an ethereal motel, employing an elegant greyscale effect or taking over a casino, each of the visuals adds a stronger perspective to the vibe of Demons Protected by Angels.
Almost a month after he released the aforementioned lead single “Never Sleep” in July, the ever-versatile Canadian delivered his next addition to the track list. On Aug. 23, NAV dropped his second promotional single “Wrong Decisions,” which is produced by himself and included the album’s first music video.
On the song, NAV executes a laid back, emotionally driven heater, as his vintage auto-tuned flow conveys his trust issues and lost faith in the industry.
Takе my words and twist ’em on the blogs
Least I know that thеy stayin’ on my jock’
When I think about time, I start to plot
I can’t let no one come and take my spot“Wrong Decisions” — NAV
“Never Sleep” served as his fifth collaborative track with Travis Scott, and his third with Lil Baby. In an interview with Complex released on the same day as the single, he explained how surreal it felt to be in the company of superstars like these.
“It’s an honor,” he said. “I started off as a beat-maker and an engineer, as this quiet person not really doing an artist thing. To be here now feels so out of place, in a good way… I can’t believe my name is there, it’s my song, it’s with these great artists, these big guys. I’m just really grateful that I can even be blessed to have the chance.”
“Never Sleep” was a fitting lead single for Demons Protected by Angels, which is his first full-length project in over a year. With his last two solo studio albums Bad Habits (2019) and Good Intentions (2020) both debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, NAV felt pretty confident that he’d be able to replicate that success, and rightfully so. When it was all said and done, he sold over 63,000 units in the album’s first week, good enough to debut as the No. 1 R&B/Hip-Hop album on Billboard.
“I think we’re gonna hit and deliver, because I tried really hard, and I was very conscious about the song choices, topic choices, the lyric choices, everything,” he said. “We’ll see.”
Demons Protected by Angels was first announced by NAV in late June. He explained that the album’s title came from his desire to support his friend’s small business after he bought his friend’s sweater that had the words “Fighting Demons Protected by Angels” on the back of it.
“The album title was inspired by a sweater that my friend had made,” he said. “It was very meaningful to me, because he came up with that himself when his mom passed away about a year ago. So I was like, ‘Wow, that’s even better.’ Like, it actually has a good meaning. So that’s why we came up with it.”
On each of NAV’s last three albums, which includes 2020’s collaborative project Emergency Tsunami with Wheezy, he had features from both Young Thug and Gunna. With Gunna delivering a feature for Demons Protected by Angels on the eighth song “Playa,” NAV continues to keep the YSL trailblazers in his thoughts, evident in the album’s promotional billboards.
“Putting out an album and not being around my peers, like Gunna and Thug and them, it just feels weird,” he said.
NAV’s consistency, distinct sound and wherewithal in the studio as an engineer, producer and rapper has led to him being one of the most sought out artists in the genre. Fans were hungrier than ever for this new NAV LP, and his humble, yet determined mindset has once again yielded favorable results.
Check out ‘Demons Protected by Angels’ by NAV below!