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Overproof Soundsystem - Nothing To Proove

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Artist: Overproof Soundsystem

Album: Nothing To Proove

Label: Different Drummer

Review date: Sep. 14, 2004

Nothing to Proove, Overproof Soundsystem’s, debut album is a mix of roots reggae lyrics and hip hop/dancehall rhythms. Based out of Birmingham, England, the group features Ras MC T-Weed and Juggla spitting vocals, Mighty Magoo on percussion and two other members Jah Grizzly & Stallion from G-Corp. The album opens with some sound advice on “Watch what you put inna…,” a humorous, yet damn important warning about smoking random ganja. The lyrics warn to watch what one rolls and to be wary of laced substances.

This seems to be Overproof Soundsystems’ way of avoiding sermons when discussing social problems, yet still getting across politically charged messages with Rastafari and Caribbean roots and flavor. “Live It Up Right” features Kenijah Boothe, Ken Boothe’s son, and discusses street violence in ghettos among the youth. It encourages racial unity and peace with lyrics: “No more fussing and fighting…whether you’re black or white let’s all unite.” Similar anthems include “War Must Cease,” again addressing the problem of violence and war internationally through laid-back protests and R&B instrumental support.

Within the context of roots reggae, some Overproof lyrics may seem repetitive, yet the contemporary influences and approach quickly remind us of the lack of such messages in similar mainstream music. While the actual track “Fussing and Fighting” is a more traditional roots reggae track, “Got To Be A Way” and “Riddim Rider,” which features hand drumming and a reminiscent clave, have roots lyrics and dancehall riddims. “The Plea” begs “Deliver us Father, deliver us from this madness”, chanted almost in prayer, reminding us of the Rastafari roots from which roots reggae is inspired.

Nothing to Proove is an apt title. Overproof Soundsystem lay it all out – their philosophy, their religion, their extracurricular activities – as they see fit. There’s nothing left unsaid here. An old-school approach with a contemporary cadence.

By Jadele McPherson

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