Following up on his debut EP, Bronx (New York) rapper ReachingNova is dropping his new body of work this September; It Was What It Was — an eight song odyssey shows his versatility and raw skill. One of the things that instantly becomes apparent when you start bumping Nova is his literal clarity; his vocal cadence is crisp and easy to follow allowing his intricate wordplay to shine while he drops a healthy dose of bars across some solid production.
I had a chance to get my hands on an advanced version of the project; here’s what I thought after a few solid listens.
The project, right off the rip, seems to be a constant battle between elements of right and wrong — at points, he comes across like a veteran OG lamenting on past sins. “Went to church on Sunday on Monday already sinning,” he raps on “Don’t Matter.” The concept of faith comes up a lot, alluding to the fact that whatever dirt the artist may or may not be entangled in, there is a conscience working to counteract and steer him in another direction.
This relationship with God as a symbol of forgiveness also comes to light in the third verse of “World So Empty,” a clear standout on the EP with a big feature from Nas-discovered Def-Jam artist Dave East, who just debuted at #4 on Billboard with his new mixtape. It was great timing on Nova’s part.
But faith aside — the 28-year-old Bronx-native has pretty vicious bars indicative of his environment.
The overall vibe stays in a pretty consistent sonic pocket with few exceptions. “UNI” is an example of him stepping into an entirely different feel for a few minutes — in a (lyrical) conversation directed at a woman. Another big track is “Know It’s Family,” which is a heartfelt ode to his closest cohorts; “I’ve got people I deeply consider family—that takes loyalty, plenty won’t understand it.”
An air of honor, confidence, and come-up make It Was What It Was a solid effort from the rapper, who is hailing from the ground-zero of Hip Hop culture. A challenge that many artists from New York City face is keeping it real with the city’s history while balancing the new wave that is moving right now — by which I mean commercially viable. Nova appears to get it!
ReachingNova is just that — reaching new levels. It Was What It Was drops September 18th, which is a great opportunity to get caught up on his old shit! Also — if you’re in the big apple, drop by his listening party on the 17th!