As Lauryn Hill once sang, music is supposed to inspire. It seems to me that ProVerb couldn’t possibly create a song that doesn’t inspire. His latest offering Writers’ Club has us all bumping heads in appreciation to one of SA’s hardest working and emcee as he raps…
“I write what I like and I like what I write. I like to be right but I don’t really write to be liked.”
We sent him a few Qs to find out what inspired this song that the BLM family now claim as our anthem.
Poetry Potion: What inspired Writer’s Club?
ProVerb: I was just feeling inspired to write one morning and wrote the first line “I write what I like and I like what I write.” From there my mind started thinking deeper about my passion for writing but also my views about the craft of writing as a whole and also challenging fellow creatives and writers to also re-engage in the art. I challenged myself to satisfy both disciplines of maintaining clever and witty wordplay while carrying this theme and also asking the right questions.
PP: You’re one of the most inspiring artists out there, and you don’t seem to try too hard. Why did you choose to make music that’s so inspiring? Why not booty/bottle popping route?
PRO: I’m very inspired in my own personal life and I’m very self-driven so I choose to use my craft to carry this theme in the hopes of also inspiring others to strive for better. I personalise my music and allow it to mirror my life. This means I speak on what I know, experience, my views and opinions. I don’t live the “bottle popping life” so I can’t speak on that. I’m a father, a husband, a career-driven individual and a creative and these are areas I prefer to put in the forefront of my material.
PP: In your video, you feature poets (Napo, Kojo and Lebo), scriptwriters (Libby and Angus, who’s also a producer), an actor/writer (Jerry Mofokeng) and an emcee/producer (Amunishn). What influenced your choices?
PRO: Writing stretches beyond music and in my attempt to highlight this I called on the best writers I had at my disposal, of as wide a variety as possible. Hence I invited poets, screenwriters, editors, playwrights and emcees to say writing is an art-form whichever way you choose to express it. I also highlight all the different writing forms like graffiti, calligraphy, scrolls etc.
PP: All your albums, even your chosen name references writing, reading, books, a deeper consciousness. It’s clearly not a random selection. Please talk a bit about the thought process behind how you name your albums?
PRO: I’m all about writing and even though it’s music, I value the written word and I want people to also remain mindful of the lyrics at all times while listening to my work. Beyond the production, the beats, the melodies, I want the focus to also be in the message, the lyrics, the thoughts behind it. I’ve chosen the book theme consistently with all my albums primarily to showcase that I’m about more than just the music, but about the written word and concepts too. I often even went as far as putting all the lyrics in my sleeves to say focus on the words not just the rhymes.
PP: What is your process of writing? What comes first – a beat or a lyric, a poem or a melody?
PRO: First it’s the concept, I ask myself what is this about, what am I trying to say, what’s the moral of the story and then begin to craft that concept into a lyric. Everything else falls into place after that including the rhyme pattern the rhythm and ultimately the accompanying music. Every now and then I would hear the music first which would perhaps inspire a concept then the process would work backwards.
PP: You seem to be always up to something. Does the writing ever get sidelined by all the other work? How do you balance it?
PRO: Never, writing is such an integral part of who I am. I don’t always have the luxury of time to literally sit and scribe but nowadays one can create on anything ipad, cellphone or even just scribble on a piece of paper and later compile the little thoughts into a complete piece of work. So busy as I am, I always make the time to put my thoughts down.
PP: This is a question I ask all the poets I interview: Do you ever experience a writer’s block? If yes, how do you deal with it?
PRO: Of course, regularly in fact. For me this just means you have nothing to write about at the moment; so, I try never to force or rush inspiration. I’d rather not write then until I have a compelling story to tell. It’s like a conversation, if you have nothing valuable to say rather say nothing until a new thought enters your mind, same thing. I can go up to a month without writing a single idea, but the inverse also happens where I get flooded with ideas and I can’t write them fast enough.
PP: Poets likes to play with music and, certainly, in the world of Slam Poetry, hip hop has major influence on style, rhythm and approach to subject matter. How does poetry influence your work?
PRO: I don’t consider myself a poet but I do admit to have poetic influences in my style of writing. I have a high and very acute appreciation for poetry. This is one art-form that explores avenues where music is unfortunately limited. Grammar is challenged, convention is dismantled and the mind is free to roam. Poets have the ability to transport to places you’ve never been and also offer new and often inexplicable perspectives and this is what I just thrive on. I try and approach my music with the same open-mindedness as a poet would his/her poetry and also challenge boundaries.
PP: Does poetry feature in your life (that is, away from music), I find that often musically inclined people will ignore literature whereas most writers I know find inspiration in music. What is your take in that?
PRO: I consciously try and expose myself to as much poetry and literature as I can. I’ve attended a few poetry sessions and unfortunately they are few and far between plus the unforgiving schedule but when I can I do. I also have a few books that I collect and a few Def Jam poetry DVDs at home.
To engage further and find out more visit www.proverbmusic.net