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Verbs (the artist previously known as Knowtheverbs) is not a rapper wasting his spittin’ skills on the sick street treasures. More about building than bling, the well-traveled Verbs has been visiting high schools in South Africa and other countries sharing his timely message of hope to young people everywhere. On this side of the globe, he launched The Train Station: Hip-hop Learn Shops, workshops to teach young people the basics of the hip-hop craft, encouraging them to use the skills for God’s purposes. 

That sense of mission comes across strong on The Groundwork Theory, Verb’s fourth full-length. But the good times roll just as fast, beginning with the bangin’ global-flavored opener, “Yie,” a reggae-rich intro that references his recent travels with rootsy tribal beats and warm chanting. Scratchy sizzler “Stay Fresh” keeps the party going, with more reggae lilting, jazz keys, and irresistible beats, whereas the smoooooth R&B-flavaed “Future” mixes Verbs’ rapid flow and swaying rhythms to take a look at real love, in sharp contrast to the referenced Beyonce and Kenye. Verbs gets plenty of strong background support, the tight harmonies here and also on “New Day” standing out immediately. The soft rap of “Be Still” bears a cool ‘70’s vibe all the way through, from Verbs’ flow to the smooth keys. 

Verbs uses diversity well to hold your attention for all 14 tracks, and imparts plenty of wisdom along the way. “Better Not Fall” is Verbs’ heartfelt word of encouragement to the youth to stay clean, stay pure. The dark samples of “Glow” plays out well against his call to be a light in the darkness, but the following track “Light My Life Up” sounds too similar, too soon. “Mutual” lifts the energy back up while laying out a godly approach to relationships.  

The disc ends well, with “Let’s Love,” a slammin’, beat-driven call to live for God, and “Newsflash,” a poppin’, steady-rhyming tightly-grooved closer. The production could have been a bit cleaner, but all in all, The Groundwork Theory makes it very clear why Verbs is such a strong player on the hip-hop scene. 


Release Date: October 16 2007

Record Label:  1280 Music

Track Listing
  1. Yie
  2. Better Not Fall
  3. Be Still
  4. Stay Fresh
  5. New Day
  6. Future
  7. I Know
  8. Glow
  9. Light My Life Up
  10. Mutual
  11. Let's Live Intro
  12. Let's Live
  13. Be Still (Reprise)
  14. Newsflash
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