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Los Angeles-born rapper, producer, professional skateboarder, and creative Navy Blue, aka Sage Elsesser, presents his anxiously awaited new album Ways of Knowing. It notably marks his full-length debut for Def Jam Recordings.

Over the course of 13 tracks, the record traverses a sonic and emotional spectrum, exploring everything from moments of insecurity to infatuation and introspection. Produced solely by friend and longtime collaborator Budgie, it showcases Navy Blue’s adroit lyricism and eloquent songcraft above immersive, throwback soulful beatcraft. Piano rings out on “The Medium” as his rhymes cut through choir-style samples with an admission, “Bro, I wasn’t scared. I learned patience, cuz it made sense.” With its island-style sway, “To Fall In Love” slips into a nostalgic lovestruck groove punctuated by admissions, “I’m ready to learn how to be the man you trust.” Then, there’s “Freehold”where the airy soundscape bolsters the intention of his delivery as he wonders, “What’s the sum of all this damage done?” It culminates on “Shadow’s Shield.” A message from his mother sets the tone as he delivers one final thought-provoking verbal crescendo. 

Check out the full tracklisting below.

About Ways of Knowing, he shared the philosophy behind the record, “I don’t really want to be remembered as this stoic guy who’s perpetually reflecting on my trauma and Black plight, you know? I want to make something that makes people smile out of joy, rather than smile in grief.”

He paved the way for the album with “Chosen.” Beyond gaining traction at streaming platforms, it picked up plugs from PitchforkOkayPlayer, and more, Stereogum proclaimed, “Producer Budgie’s beat is warm and smeary and melodic, and Navy Blue sounds casual but motivated.” Insomniac Magazine hailed it as “a silky smooth joint.”

Experience Ways of Knowing now and stay tuned for more from Navy Blue.

Navy Blue continues to incite curiosity and excitement in equal measure. The Los Angeles native has quietly captivated the culture with the likes of Gangway for Navy[2019], Àdá Irin [2020], and Song of Sage: Post Panic! [2020], which found him trading bars with everyone from Yasiin Bey to billy woods. He maintained his momentum with Navy’s Reprise [2021] highlighted by “Timberwolves,” pulling in 3 million-plus Spotify streams and counting. Earning tastemaker acclaim, Pitchfork attested, “His soul is bared every time he graces the jazzy, sample-heavy loops he prefers.” Not to mention, he even lent a verse to “The Mint” off Earl Sweatshirt’s seminal Some Rap Songs. 2022 saw him unleash three physical-only projects—Gift of Gabriel: Rain’s Reign!Crypt of Carlos: Onward!, and Arc of Atreyu: Neverending! 


  1. The Medium 
  2. Chosen
  3. The One
  4. To Fall in Love ft. Budgie
  5. Life’s Terms ft. Zeroh
  6. Phases 
  7. Kill Switch
  8. Window to the Soul ft. Kelly Moonstone
  9. Freehold
  10. Embers ft. Liv.e & Venna
  11. Pillars 
  12. Look In My Eyes
  13. Shadow’s Shields

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