In an interview with Variety, Nav opened up on how Drake and the Weeknd laid the groundwork that helped the Bad Habits rapper become who he is today. As a fellow Toronto native, Nav credits Drizzy for being the first person from The 6ix to break into the mainstream hip-hop scene in a big way, which thereby "made shit feel like it’s possible."
"It’s crazy; he really kicked down the door for us. He started everything," he said. "There’s always gonna be appreciation for what he’s done for us. It made shit feel like it’s possible." The XO Records artist also pointed to the Weeknd's background as inspiration that he could also make it in the industry as "the first brown boy to get it poppin’."
"When Abel came through, he made me feel even more possible," he said. "He’s an underdog too. An Ethiopian kid from Toronto making drugged-out music like it was new. Luckily, Toronto is very hip to shit. Kids are very cultured and cool and they like new sounds." Earlier this year, Amir "Cash" Esmailian released Brown Boy EP to build anticipation for the release of Nav's second studio album the following week.
While the mixtape's title shows that he isn't afraid to acknowledge his roots, Nav confesses that there is a "challenge and a responsibility" that comes with being an Indian rapper.
"It’s cool to be an Indian rapper, but it’s a challenge and a responsibility, too, because you have to represent everything the right way. You can’t f— it up for everybody," he explained. "There’s a lot of pressure on my shoulders people don’t really think about or appreciate. My people especially, they don’t understand how deep this is — how much it takes, how much I have to think before I do something. I have to think 30 times before I do or say anything because I’m representing a whole race to the world in hip-hop, which is crazy."
Elsewhere in the interview, Nav readdressed his previous paparazzi comments he made during a March chat with Pitchfork. "Honestly, the interview everyone knows about is not worded exactly how I said it. It’s all good. I didn’t look at it like, 'OMG, this is terrible' I just didn’t care," Nav said. When I go outside, I said sick. Sick like they’re not taking pictures. Maybe it got twisted, but it’s cool. My outlook’s the same. I don’t want the attention. What I said is sick and what they said is 'I get sick.' I didn’t want to make myself look salty 'cause I wasn’t salty. So much shitty stuff gets said about me every day; you read my comments and I just don’t give a shit. As long as my bank account keeps going up, my mom’s good, my friends are good, I don’t care what nobody has to say.
Head over to Variety to read the full interview.