ProVerb celebrates a decade of music with ‘The Read Tape’

It was an emotional night for rapper and TV presenter ProVerb, born Tebogo Thekiso, as he celebrated a decade in the music industry at The Lyric theatre at Gold Reef City on Wednesday night.

He also launched his new 16-track album, The Read Tape, and performed his new material at the well-attended affair.

Artists RJ Benjamin, Ziyon, The Soil, Reason, Kabomo, Ammunition, Selwyn and M.anifest joined ProVerb on stage to perform his old and new songs. 

One of the highlights of the evening was ProVerb’s freestyle set with fellow local hip-hop veterans, Tumi and Zubz.

The Read Tape is his fifth studio album since he debuted with The Book of ProVerb in 2005. There is always a concept behind his albums and The Read Tape is no different. He regards himself an author and carries out the theme of books and reading throughout his music. The album has dual meaning. 

The album can be read as the red-tape, which is a figure of speech for rigid conformity to formal rules. “With this album I aim to break barriers with sound and production,” ProVerb tells the Mail&Guardian.  The second meaning is a play on the word “read”. According to ProVerb listening to his music is just like reading a book.

Ten years later he is still regarded as one of the best local lyricists. “I’m humbled that I have enjoyed a ten year career in the music industry.”

His last album release was in 2012 (FourthWrite), and in between his breaks from recording music, he’s tried his hand at presenting TV shows as well as producing them. The Blessed & Highly Favoured rapper is well known for presenting the talent show Idols.

His involvement in the media industry dates back to 2004, where he worked on radio as a technical producer on YFM’s The Freshest Breakfast Show, with DJ Fresh. He acknowledged and thanked Fresh, who was in attendance at the launch, for granting him an opportunity to work in radio. 

The first single from the new album, Nothing New – which he described as “cheeky” – has received a lot of airplay on radio stations. The single is just a reminder to the new school of hip-hop, that some of the current trends are recycled and what some many think is new and groundbreaking, has in fact been done before by the older generation. “We’ve been doing it/ nothing new,” he sings.

When you mention local hip-hop acts that have led the movement in South Africa, you can’t leave ProVerb’s name out.

The public has witnessed his transformation, from baggy pants and oversized sweatshirts, to well-tailored suits. He is now a businessperson, married with two children. But one thing that he hasn’t let go of, is his collection of snapback caps.

He referred to the evening as “coming full circle”, and got teary-eyed when he thanked his fans for their support. To seal the deal and make the anniversary official, he was presented with a cake shaped as a red tape with sparkle candles.

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