AC-Nova - Sertoma (Because You've Never Had A Better Time)

It's beyond cliché to say that an artist has "found their sound", but in the case of AC-Nova's third full length album, it's completely fitting. “Sertoma” is an acronym for "service to man". It's subtitle "because you've never had a better time" suggests the man wasn't kidding at all when he told me he had "found peace" during our last recorded conversation. This isn't to say that Nova has softened at all; far from it. This album packs plenty of pugnacious punchlines, even without the scorching battle track on the early version.

The album opener, "ALYK" oozes with the confidence that often comes easy for the self-proclaimed "best in the ville". Dare I say, Nova is really feelin himself on this one. A point driven home by the refrain "you better act like you know who you fuckin with". The song features a slick bassline, and loads of energy. An excellent beginning to a masterful album. Yes, I said it. Masterful.

Not to give the whole thing away in the third paragraph, but holy shit this thing is fire. A towering inferno of bangin beats, and hard rhymes. Much more than just a down south boom bap release, there are well-crafted songs here. The fiery anthem "Boys of the Summer 2" seethes with all the anger & frustration you'd expect from a song about racism, and the police violence against black men, and women that we hear about far too often. Yet thru all the anger, and calls for direct (not necessarily nonviolent) action, the song is just damn catchy.

On “Appletrees”, AC-Nova pens an open letter to his Dad over a soulful, groovy beat. You have to appreciate when an artist lets you into their personal space like this. Well, I guess you don't HAVE to, but if you don't, you're a bad music fan. “GNN” raises the funk level a bit closer to the mothership, and should probably require at least one listen in a Cadillac while wearing a silk suit. Of course it features a sample from 70s “blaxploitation” classic, “The Mack” because why wouldn't it?

“Back to Gold” is a certified banger featuring a flamethrower verse from Katalyst. I actually get requests for this song during breaks in the studio. Seriously, virtually everyone I know loves this song. Lyrical prowess on smash, over an infectious beat that slows down toward the end while Nova down-shifts his flow right along with it. I'm not sure if this has ever been done on a rap song before, but either way, it's impressive for a music nerd such as myself.

Musically, this album has everything. Bluesy guitar leads, spacey synths, booming bass, and plenty of atmosphere, and emotion. “Eventually” sounds like a breakthrough single, a smooth love song with rapid-fire bars. A fitting track for a guy who has referred to himself as “Biggie-Drake”. Clearly, I'm no A&R man, but I do tend to have a knack for knowing when something is going to break out. I would be shocked if this album didn't put AC-Nova on the map nationally. This album is a game changer, and I look forward to everyone else stepping up their craft to match this future classic.

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