With growth and maturity comes a certain level of hindsight, acceptance, and understanding that often takes place. It’s a natural process, an inevitable by-product of facing our mortality — though it’s not always the result of horrific trauma. For some, it’s a realization that can be made from a casual conversation with an OG or wise stranger on a bus. For others, like Bronx MC ReachingNOVA, it came through a practice near and dear to my own heart, meditation.

His latest single, “Used To,” was one written after a meditation session, which he notes took him face to face with the imperfections, mistakes, and decisions that ultimately built him up and guided him down the path to the man he is today.

“I sat in the stillness of how things once were … what I felt wasn’t [a feeling of regret]. It was simply a feeling of appreciation for what once was,” he noted of the experience on his Instagram. “In life, I’ve learned to embrace disappointments, find the silver lining in a setback or mishap, and just rise above it all.”

Over an instrumental that sounds as though it would be at home on any Drake LP of recent years, Nova plays with the phrase “used to.” He thoughtfully describes the many ways in which he has grown and evolved — from relationships to personal adversity and elevation of his focus and personal value system.

“Used to think I knew myself until I studied my worth,” he raps, adding, “I used to be alright just suppressing the hurt, embrace love, feel the pain, it’s all a part of the work.” View this post on Instagram

He is also joined by frequent collaborator, Brooklyn MC Debanaire, who is coming off of a handful of dope singles in 2020 (notably “Levels,” which I highly recommend). He adds his own spin in line with the theme, taking the track to another level.

I feel a connection to the honest reflection of this record. Things change, people change, and, frankly, it’s in knowing where we’re from and what we’ve done that we can grow and evolve and become better versions of ourselves. COVID-19 has given people more time to reflect than ever, and he often does, Nova manages to make personal, soulful music devoid of gimmicky escapism — all while keeping his listener engaged.

It’s another notch in a series of poignant gems, worth a few spins on your playlist this week.

Stream ReachingNOVA and Debanaire’s “Used To” on all major DSPs now. Also, be sure to check out the visual for his single “C’est La Vie,” which he dropped at the top of the year.