ProVerb’s dream comes true through Nasty C

South African rapper, ProVerb (Tebogo Sidney Thapelo Thekisho)

South Africa Vs Hip Hop

South African hip hop has grown leaps and bounds since it first premiered on South African shows, however we’ve always had hip hop elements sip into our home grown music. Trompies from the Jazmee Records era would wear Chuck Tailor All Stars, bucket hats and chinos resembling the ’90s hip hop dress wear. East Pantsula is an exaggerated form of the crip walk popularized by Los Angeles gangsters. TKZee were huge fans of the Lost Boyz, which effectively had them re-establish the kwaito sound incorporating hip hop elements, giving it a unique sound and tempo, making the kwaio sound that we know and love today.

As South Africans were freed from the oppression of Apartheid, they resonated with the stories and messages of the young black youth of the United States of America. Individuals and groups from townships such as Soweto, down to the Cape Flats were preoccupied by the genre coming from the ghettos of New York and Los Angeles, today you can still see the influence hip hop has on South African youth.

Crawl, Walk, Fly

The first hip hop album in South Africa was “Our World” by the Capetonian hip hop group, P.O.C or Prophets of Da City which included DJ Ready D and Ishmael. This was not immediately accepted within the mainstream because of the political rhetoric in the music, radio would actually outright refuse to play their music, even outlining Ghetto Ruff at the South African Music Awards (SAMAs) by charging the company over R200,000 to enter their music in each category for the awards ceremony.

In fact, here’s a funny story, the South African Music Awards which was the biggest awards ceremony in the country, first introduced the best rap category in 2001. Do you remember Zwai Bala from TKZee, then The Bala Brothers? If you don’t, I’ve managed to get you a little something by him below;

So now that you’ve watched Zwai Bala’s performance above, that guy won best rap album at the South African Music Awards, isn’t that funny?

From then on, hip hop would slowly become recognized within the local music industry, making superstars out of artists such as Skwatta Kamp, to the recent Nasty C who has taken hip hop to the length and spaces far beyond what we could imagine as possible.

ProVerb

Born on the 12th of April 1981 in Kimberley Northern Cape, Tebogo Sidney Thapelo Thekisho started rapping at the age of fifteen, he would record demo tapes under the name ProVerb.

ProVerb back in the day
ProVerb back in the day.

He was first introduced to the South African hip hop market when Amu released the Xzibit inspired “Attention” in 2003.

Watch the music video of “Attention” by Amu featuring ProVerb and Mr Sewyn below;

In 2005, ProVerb signed with Outrageous Records – releasing his first album, “The Book of ProVerb” with the hits including the breakout single “Heart-Beat”, “Microphone Sweet Home” and the prophetic “I Have A Dream”.

ProVerb Has A Dream

The song starts off with audio from the famous Martin Luther King Jr. speech the title of the song is named after, “I Have a Dream”.

Before we proceed any further, first listen to the song, “I Have A Dream” by ProVerb below;

Hip hop artists have always won awards since Skwatta Kamp’s “Mkhukhu Funkshen”, however seeing that it is a category that forces the industry to give an award to hip hop artists, I would rather focus on other award ceremonies. The best example is the South African hip hop awards that were introduced in 2013, this was the first time we got to see hip hop artists in all facets being awarded.

The SA hip hop awards have always found fast rising artists who grew from obscurity, awarding them with the best newcomer award, artists like YoungstaCPT, who have otherwise been ignored by the mainstream media is winning awards and he’s recognized within a community.

As we continue with this documentary, we’ll be taking a look at some lines in ProVerb’s song, “I Have A Dream” to confirm that his dreams came true;

The underdogs that are giving more when they’re living for the bigger cause that our hip hop will hit abroad

HHP is the first South African rapper that I’m aware of who had a song with a prominent international feature, Nas who had a guest verse on “Keledimo”. That was South African hip hop’s first step in moving into international space, since then we’ve had more South African artists feature other international artists.

Listen to “Keledimo” by HHP featuring Nas below;

In 2014, Da L.E.S had the music video for “Fire”, the second single from his album “Mandela Money” shot by American director and filmmaker, Matt Alonzo in Los Angeles, further bringing attention to another facet in South African hip hop.

Check out the music video of “Fire” by Da L.E.S below;

I have a dream of platinum sales minimum gold status, a tour bus with all of us touring across African borders while television networks record us.

It’s almost every other day that we are bombarded with pictures of rappers buying tour buses to tour with, Focalistic and Costa Titch are the most recent ones that I can think about. Since we don’t rely on television networks anymore in 2021, the one tour we were always given updates on in terms of video, is J Molley’s “NeverBroke Tour”.

I have a dream of writing articles in magazines that’ll explain hip hop is more than just a baggy jeans.

While hip hop has stopped the baggy jean looks since early 2000s, we have been getting articles from different publications within our culture who are actually invested in the characters within our hip hop sphere, sometimes bad, sometimes good, but articles beyond the superficial none the less, none more prevalent however than Hype magazine. While it (Hype magazine) was still a physical publication, it was great until it got into the hands of the current ICU.

I have a dream of being on stage when I perform this seeing the crowd respond to metaphors not just the chorus.

While going through the song though, there are no other artists whose dream this fits more than Nasty C.

Nasty C

Born on the 11th of February 1997, Nsikayesizwe David Junior Ngcobo grew up in Illovo, KwaZulu-Natal to become Nasty C.

Nasty C

He drew attention to himself in 2015 after the release of his single “Juice Back”. He would follow that up with the “Juice Back” remix which featured Cassper Nyovest and Davido, this started Nasty C’s rise within the South African market as a force to be reckoned with.

Watch the music video of “Juice Back” remix by Nasty C featuring Cassper Nyovest and Davido below;

I will write a bio-documentary about Nasty C in another article, but for the moment lets see how many lines of ProVerb’s song, “I Have A Dream” we can connect with Nasty C.

I have a dream that real emcees will win awards, cats who’ve been ignored by the industry before

Nasty C has released three projects including “Price City”, which did not receive any real attention from the mainstream outlets, he even performed with AKA and Da L.E.S and worked with Kwesta. In fact, “Juice Back” was a retaliation for that, which won him his first award in the same year at the South African hip hop awards, which brought Nasty C out from obscurity to the award winning Nasty C, there were many more after that.

I have a dream of platinum sales minimum gold

Starting with “King”, Nasty C has had multiple gold singles. “Strings and Bling” would be his first album to reach platinum status eventually going double platinum.

Check out the music video of “King” by Nasty C featuring A$AP Ferg below;

A tour bus with all of us touring across African borders while television networks record us.

Two thousand twenty was meant to be the year that Nasty C would take his Ivyson tour outside of South Africa, but the COVID-19 pandemic spoilt all his plans.

I have a dream of writing articles in magazines that’ll explain hip hop is more than just a baggy jeans.

Nasty C has told many stories in his music even from the first album, including the tragic story of his late mother, Veliswa Ivy. I think the best line in ProVerb’s song that describes Nasty C at this moment is definitely this one;

The underdogs that are giving more when they’re living for the bigger cause that our hip hop will hit abroad.

In March of 2020, Nasty C would announce that he had signed a joint venture deal with the legendary hip hop label, Def Jam. In June, he would visit Atlanta, Georgia and Los Angeles linking up with Spillage Village, Coi Leray, Young Jeezy and his idol, T.I.

Epilogue

ProVerb who’s now an OG rapper within the South African industry, has seen his dream come true. South African hip hop has grown leaps and bounds across African borders and further than even ProVerb expected, Cassper Nyovest has gone onto fill up stadiums, AKA and Kwesta have gone diamond on singles and albums.

In 2014 and 2015, it could be said that hip hop dominated the charts where even House music DJs were doing hip hop songs. South African Hip hop has grown from a novelty and it still has more growing to do, there’s literally only one thing that hasn’t been fulfilled in ProVerb’s dream, “Together we stand, divided we fall”. People in the South African hip hop industry need to stop beefing (and this is for the music of course) and causing rivalries as it is permeating to the new wave of artists, amapiano is winning right now because everyone is featuring everyone, even people that no one knows, if SA hip hop had to adopt the same mentality, the sky is the limit.

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