Navy Blue Confronts Ancestral Trauma in His New Album, “Song of Sage: Post Panic!”

This album is a full, poetic monologue of a culmination of ancestral trauma leaking throughout the album and Navy’s blood like a broken pipe. 

On the track “Sea Bass,” off of rapper Navy Blue’s new album, Song of Sage: Post Panic! – he raps, “Navy is an artist, and an author, and a poet. For the record, I will step in the direction of my darkness. I saw the light, I changed my mind, and now I’m off it, switch the topic. It’s not a conversation, this a monologue.”  

Just in a few couple of bars, Navy Blue has already articulated perfectly his identity and how overtime time – as he has collected sorrow throughout the years, how that energy has manifested and spread into his spirit. 

Navy’s identity has thus shape-shifted and adapted due to the impact of trauma not being allowed to be released but merely repressed. This album is Navy Blue purging and cleansing his spirit through music being his primal mode of expression and reflection.

Song of Sage: Post Panic! is also Navy’s attempt at trying to process black trauma – not just the one that pours into his family and falls instinctively onto his shoulders.

Photo Credit to Bandcamp.com

He is also trying to process the black trauma on a global scale. Navy is tracing the history of the origin of black trauma that was created through the institution of slavery. He seems to perpetually find himself greeting this inherited trauma in the shadow of the faces of the people who make up his community. 

Through that inheritance of trauma, Navy speaks on the self-destructive ways he would find himself relying on and falling back on in order to cope. He spits about how for many, the only service available for people in the black community to cope and find peace is through using drugs. He is hinting at the lack of mental health services that are being provided to the black community, but also the stigma of going to therapy that exists within it as well. 

Navy raps throughout the album about being afraid to cry around others for fear of judgment, leaning towards the numbness of the spliff and masking his sadness with the engulfment of smoke instead. He often speaks of the importance of gratitude – gratitude as one of the main principles to live your life by, and keep you alive. 

Throughout this album, that gratitude is being reserved and fully dedicated to the existence of rap and the healing it is able to offer him. 

On the track “Back to Basics” he raps, “Made it with those who made it off the slave ship. Famous, stars, straps, start smoking gas. I won’t relapse, bleeding like it’s tree sap. Vince Carter knee cap, me and my brothers need rap.”

Sonically, the album is filled with blues, jazz, and soul inspired beats. I truly think the best way to capture the instrumentation that Navy was drawn to throughout these tracks is the word holy. The horns and synthesizers combined with Navy’s spoken word style of rapping makes every bar feel like a prayer, every word penetrates your chakras – this never-ending cycle of suffering and releasing is what makes this whole album feel intuitively divine. 

If you’re looking for a spiritual album that explores notions of grief, sadness, and ancestral trauma in a way that feels truly therapeutic – this is the album for you. 

Maddy Ipema

My name is Maddy Ipema, and you can usually find me with headphones blaring and a book on my lap! I am a senior at Columbia College Chicago, where I am majoring in fiction writing. I love writing in all forms, and mostly work in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry! Music is my main source of inspiration for life as well as my writing!

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