“Fourthwrite is the aural equivalent of a biopic of a man who has lived life and has learnt some of its most important lessons, who has surpassed the material meaningless aspirations that younger rap artists tend to strive for.”
Multi-talented rapper, producer, Idols presenter and newly signed Universal Music Group artist, Proverb has released an exceptional album in Fourthwrite. This project is indicative of what an artist can achieve when they pursue mastering their craft and greatness instead of fame and wealth. Whether you’ve been waiting three years or just got into Proverb’s music, his latest offering delivers an inspiring message of a man with an incredible story to tell. A story filled with spiritual gratitude and pretty pearls of wisdom regarding success, love, relationships and personal development.
Proverb’s remarkable ability to weave through different topics is especially apparent in Fourthwrite as he moves from telling us about the importance of introspection in “Intro-spect(Who)” to his triumphant yet cautionary lyrics on “The Beginning”. This is made richer by Lungelo’s soulful hook where he claims he is just getting started and has many more pinnacles to reach. The title itself, Fourthwrite, holds like a mirror that reflects the album’s never-ending play on words like acrobats in a circus. Multisyllabic rhyme schemes peppered with double entendres and whopping punch-lines that could knock Mike Tyson out which exemplifies Proverb’s lyrical agility are not uncommon in the entire album. However this can especially be appreciated on tracks like “Writer’s Club”, “I Write Books”, “Manifest” and “Work it Out”.
The crisp and stellar production coupled with the perfect transitions from track to track, and the obvious care shown in choosing the song order with all but five of the songs produced by Proverb, highlight his sound engineering background and outstanding production skills as he give the album a seamless flow. Songs with similar themes are placed neatly together to create a story of a man whose love for his family, his work and his God rings loud and clear. “Blessed And Highly Favoured”, a track that sings praise to God featuring soulful a cappella group The Soil, is complemented with a grandiose blend of riveting snare drums and colourful trumpet that make for a heart-warming audio treat. “Writer’s Club” with its brash horns, crashing cymbals and scintillating snare is a testament to his claim that he’s a “jack of all trades and mastered all of them”.
Being a father and veteran of the music game, Proverb combines his technical finesse on the mic with the maturity of his subject matter. The spiritual theme is further extended with tracks like “Paradise” and “Move This Mountain” that advocate putting your faith in a higher power bigger than yourself, and with tracks like “My Day Will Come” that expose his childhood struggles of not being believed in to finally being given a chance. There’s a rarely-done-in-hip-hop romantic ode to his wife in “You Got Me” to the I-can-change-the-world attitude that “Inspiration” invokes, and the need to want to leave a worthwhile contribution that he spits with passionate sincerity on “Legacy”, Proverb’s growth as a person has enhanced his salient ability of self-reflection and induced rhymes that are incisive as well as insightful.
To further highlight himself as a rap powerhouse and a man near the top of his game, one only has to look at the collaborations on Fourthwrite with hip-hop heavyweights Tumi bouncing fiery rhymes back and forth to each other à la Roger Federer versus Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon on “Back n Forth” and Nigerian rap superstar Naeto C holds it down on the push-past-your-limits track “Higher”. With all but four songs having a feature on them in this album, less hooks from singers and more individual tracks from the artist himself would have been nice.
Fourthwrite is the aural equivalent of a biopic of a man who has lived life and has learnt some of its most important lessons, who has surpassed the material meaningless aspirations that younger rap artists tend to strive for. Instead he’s constantly pushed himself further and never settled, and lives in eternal gratitude and belief in a power bigger than himself. In doing so, Proverb has given us an album that teaches and inspires us to do the same.
Written By: Nomusa Mthethwa (@NomusaMT)