In recent years, Sage Elsesser, the rapper and pro skateboarder better known as Navy Blue, has been one of the busiest and most acclaimed figures on the indie-rap underground. Navy Blue has done extensive work with artists like Earl Sweatshirt, Wiki, and AKAI SOLO. His own records, which are often self-produced, are deep dives into trauma and depression. Last year, he released three projects that were only available on physical media. Navy Blue seems like an unlikely candidate for major-label fame, but he’s on Def Jam now, and he’s just released his first single for the label.
Navy Blue’s new song “Chosen” is the first taste of a new album that’s due later this year, and it’s a slight style adjustment, but it’s not like the guy’s suddenly out here making Drake tracks. Producer Budgie’s beat is warm and smeary and melodic, and Navy Blue sounds casual but motivated. On the verses, he does some flexing: “I’ll be overseas with Mr. Dave Chapelle and brother Yasiin in Paris/ Maison Margi steppin’, keep my prep clean.” On the outro, he gets fired up about how he was meant for greatness. Listen below.
“Chosen” is out now on Def Jam.