The year was 2005. I was second year in tertiary and every morning was the same for me. Wake up a bit before 5am and then tune into YFM 99.2 for The Freshest Breakfast Show with DJ Fresh and Little Thato.
In the midst of entertaining radio show, DJ Fresh’s contagious laugh, there was the occasional jingle that would be rapped by Sizwe ‘Reason’ Moeketsi. There was also a behind the scenes guy by the name of Tebogo Thekisho aka Proverb, who was the technical producer of the show, who’d make appearances on the show with freestyles and the eternal opening line on a freestyle on June 16 where he said, “I’m glad I didn’t partake in apartheid”. Proverb also freestyled with the late legend Brenda Fassie on the breakfast show.
The date March 4, 2005 is etched in a lot of hip hop heads as this was the date Proverb’s debut The Book of Proverb was released.
Lets take a nostalgic road and review one of the most respected albums in SA hip-hop history.
This was the start to show how genius and meticulously-themed Proverb’s offerings are. Album titled The Book of Proverb, the intro track is titled “Index”. Proverb details his start of being an MC, down to the date.
Stethoscope laces this march-inducing track as the Verb encourages all the soldiers to pick up their weapons and march on. The soldiers are euphemism of MCs in this song and the weapons are rhymes, beats and notepads.
I Have A Dream
Opening the strings-infused beat is Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream speech”. The Verb details his dreams of what he envisions SA hip-hop to become. Asking for solidarity within the industry and the well-deserved recognition for the rappers in SA. Safe to say, SOME of Verb’s dreams are coming to fruit today
“An MC can rap but a rapper can’t MC” / “I’m like a bandage, the more I rap (wrap) the bigger the injury” – The Verb is relentless on this song with punch lines and wordplays that exhibit his meticulous skill on the mic.
My Vers’d Love
Proverb pens a letter to Hip Hop. From the time it started out as poetry to detailing how his mom didn’t understand how he is so in love with hip hop, it was clear that his love for the genre was deep.
Microphone Sweet Home
This is arguably Proverb’s most famous song. He explains that he is at home on the mic. Also, this is the song where he declared the 4th of March is the release date of his debut album.
A beautiful ode to the women in his life and all the women in the world. Showing his respect to his grandmother, his mother and his little sister. Simply beautiful.
Where Did She Go
The Verb talks about a woman he saw while he was performing; a glorious sight that captured his attention. When he was done, she was gone.
Marry Me (Pre-Posal)
First verse is The Verb’s vows at the altar. The song continues to have Proverb serenading his lady and detailing what they will be doing as Mr. & Mrs. Verb.
Not only does Proverb praise his hometown for his upbringing, but he also pleads with the people from Kimberley to stop the suicide; one of the highest suicide rates in the country. Proverb shows there is more than enough reason to live and he is living proof that one can make it out of Kimberley, and that killing yourself shouldn’t be an option.
Hip Hop Mentality
Beautifully executed concept. To showcase that he has a hip-hop mentality, Proverb takes you on a tour of his mind. Thoughts and dreams broken down in lyrics.
From the head to the heart. Proverb shows his love to hip hop by stating his heart is his mouthpiece; translating to how heartfelt his verses are.
Head To Toe
58 seconds of The Verb literally bodying the beat. Using the human anatomy to showcases that he embodies hip hop, The Verbal Assassin puts the beat in a body bag.
Sex, Drugs and Alcohol
One of the most creative concepts where Proverb enlists Zubz and Tumi for this joint. Together, each of them adapts sex, drug and alcohol into hip hop. Proverb compares hip hop to sex, Zubz to drugs and Tumi to alcohol. A beauty.
Rhymes, Beats and Battles
The Verb shows what type of pedigree of MC he is. Going back to the origins of hip hop, The Verb showcases his style and what music inspired the MC he is. This joint captures the rhymes, the dj cuts and the freestyle battles he has endured.
This is the closing of the album but promises more. He states this is just the beginning and he’ll be back. As the album is title The Book of Proverb, this is the last page of the chapter. Note: The hidden track “Letter To My Ex” begins at the end of this song.
Proverb’s debut is one of the most respected albums in SA history. At 9 years, it still comes up in conversations when talking about SA hip-hop. With Proverb on his fourth album, aptly titled Fourthwrite, he has earned his stripes as an MC.
CHEKA Digital wishes one of the hardest working men in showbiz all the best with his future endeavours and with a beautiful catalogue, we will continue to support The Verbal Assassin.
Written By: Siphiwe Zwane (@SDotJR_)