April 12, 2023
NAV at SOMA San Diego
Kai Zeger

Words and photos by Kai Zeger

As soon as I walked into the venue, I knew I had fucked up. I had been fairly excited to go to the NAV show for the past couple days and felt very lucky I had been approved to shoot a sold-out show. While this was not my first time at SOMA, it was my first time photographing at this venue, but I wasn’t particularly worried on the way there. I had figured that since most concert venues have a side passage to get to the front barricade, this one would too. This venue, incidentally, did not, meaning the only way to get to the front is to get there before everyone else, or push your way there. Eventually, I realized if I wanted the photos I would have to work for them, and pray my camera bags would protect their payload. Holding my camera up and pushing past hundreds of people, I managed to work my way to the front by the time Sofaygo began his second song.

Signed to Travis Scott’s label Cactus Jack, Sofaygo has been quietly working his way into mainstream success with hit songs such as “knock knock”. At this show, he opened with “shut up!”, and proceeded to play various songs such as “mp5”, a Trippie Redd song he was featured on. Considering how new he is to the rap scene, he was a great performer who knew how to get the crowd excited. Mixing in a variety of different songs and engaging with the crowd between each song, he could have easily been the main act of this show. While I previously did not know much of Sofaygo’s music, this show certainly convinced me to give it a listen. Finishing his set, he played “knock knock”, his most popular song, that currently has over 200 million plays on Spotify. As expected, the crowd sang word for word, and a sea of arms and heads moved energetically along with the beat. With this performance and clear evidence of a strong fan base, this tour will likely be Sofaygo’s last as an opening act. 

Sofaygo performs at SOMA on March 18.

After Sofaygo finished his set, a DJ came out and played some songs to get the crowd going. On the third song, NAV came on, and the crowd went wild. NAV has been in the mainstream rap scene for quite some time now, with hit songs such as “some way” dating back to 2016. Since then, he’s been featured on remarkably popular albums and songs, such as Astroworld by Travis Scott and the smash hit “Lemonade” by Internet Money, which has been streamed over 1 billion times on Spotify (thanks to success on TikTok).

NAV headlines SOMA on March 18.

Knowing when to give the crowd a break and when to get them going, NAV brought the most out of a sold-out crowd of over 2000 people. With the rapper running from one end of the stage to the other and directing the crowd with his rapping and performance, I was shocked when I heard that he had almost canceled the show due to sickness. Starting off with hard-hitting songs like “Never sleep” and then playing slower-paced classics such as “Wanted you” and “Beibs in the trap”, NAV certainly did not hold back on playing his most popular songs. Even with the slower-paced songs, the crowd rapped along, and with the faster paced ones, the energy was electric. He finished off on an encore with “Turks”, one of my own personal favorites, a hype song that would get even the tamest people going. NAV danced around the stage and massive mosh pits opened up as the crowd became almost uncontrollable. 

NAV and Sofaygo were great performers, and the energetic crowd made sure they got their money’s worth out of every song. If you have an opportunity to see either of them on tour at some point, I highly recommend you attend.

More from NAV:

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