Promise

posted September 10, 2008 12:00:00 AM CDT | 12 comments

Making it big in the music industry has never been an easy task. For every artist that exists on a recognizable scale there are tons that are still trying to get through and even more that have given up. For Toronto born emcee, Promise, the struggles of the game are all too familiar. Like most artists that make it (or donít for that matter) this young rapper has his own story; however, his does not have an ending Öyet. So whatís he doing wrong? Or should I ask, whatís he doing so right that heís hasnít blown up already?

In late 2002, Promise dropped his first official album, The Promise That Heaven Kept. While this project did well on a local scale and earned him a few awards especially in the gospel categories, it seems to have done very little to gain him any sizable exposure on an international level. His premier release was professionally packaged and boasted quality sound; however, it lacked greatly in the area of marketing and promotion. It appears to me as if he really started to gain some recognition after releasing a string of mixtapes Ė four in total. Itís evident that he grew lyrically and matured musically but heís always been decent; and what artist doesnít grow from one project to the next? Whatever it was, clearly, he must have been doing something right because his new album packs features like: Elzhi, Rhymefest and renowned singer Montell Jordan.

When it comes to lyrical ability, Promise always comes correct but itís his content that seems to catch people slightly off guard. Donít get me wrong, the themes and stories he tends to present are definitely not weak; in fact, they are usually thought-provoking and deep. To be quite honest unless we enjoy being stuck with our ghetto mentalities and pessimistic ideals, Promise might just be the escape from the usual that some of us have been searching for.

On His Musical Influences And How He Got Started In The Game:
"I didnít listen to much Hip Hop until like grade seven and eight and before that is was Funk, Soul, James Brown, Al Green, you know the real stuff. I use to write a lot of poetry, creative writing, short stories and stuff like that. I just fooled around and freestyled with my friends in the caf and then one day somebody heard us. They pulled me aside and they were like, 'What youíre sayiní is real inspiring you should really take it seriously,' so I did."

On His Sophomore Album, More Than Music: "Itís more than just beats and rhymes and words. Itís stories, life experiences and situations, itís messages, itís substance...itís life, itís real."

On What Held Up His Second Album For Over Five Years:
"Argh! Politics, label stuffÖyou know how it is. If youíre an artist and youíre 'signed' itís like, ďYeahhhhhhh, I got a big deal,' but now everybody has their hands in it! Everybody has a say, everybody gets to say what song goes on, what it has to sound like, how long it has to be, how many tracks, when you get to put it out. Itís just crazy. This is itÖafter this I donít want anymore hands in all my business."

On Why He Did The Kanye West Mixtapes And The Attention He Received As A Result: "The first one I really just did Ďcause I had a bunch of dubs just done up over spare time; like I said, I record all day every day! Then Iím like, 'I gotta get these out man, I want people to hear them.' People heard a few of them and they were like, 'Ah, when can I get this?' So I just put it out there and the response was crazy. I got deejays in Chicago and ATL requestiní if they can start handiní out thousands of CDs and stuff like that so I was like, 'Man maybe I should do a volume 2,' and they were like, 'Yeah, yeah do a volume 2!' You know, the first time I put out volume 1 I didnít really have any connection to Kanye and now Really Doe from G.O.O.D. Music is one of my close friends, I know GLC, Iíve spoken to Consequence [click to read] and Rhymefest [click to read] and a bunch of other affiliates of his."

On The Rumors About Him Already Signing With Duck Down: "My boy Tek from Smif-N-Wessun [click to read] actually announced it at Opera House. When they were doiní the Canadian tour I did a couple of show with them; I did Ottawa and Toronto. Iím not sure, I donít think that was planned; I think he figured, 'We're in Promiseís home city and we might as well let emí know whatís really good.' He just came out with it and things weren't finalized yet and itís where it is. They still wanna sign me and we still communicate but itís just about the numbersÖthe number game you know and getting everything right."

On His Current Contract With Canadian Indie Label DFS Records: "This is it. Last album. End of this year, itís done. Iím an honorable man and weíre gonna honor this contract and let DFS put out this record. Whether or not someone wants to do a joint venture with them, itís up to them really, it doesnít matter to me who puts it out. I just want it out so it can start circulating and we can move on to the rest of this stuff. Iíve got so much lined up my systemís getting backed up!"

On The Canadian Scene Vs. the American Scene: "Itís getting better but itís still bad. Itís not just the screwface, the anger, the hatredÖ but itís also that we, as Canadians, are more conservative than the Americans. Not conservative as in more sophisticated or better than, but as in we hold back our emotions and we hold back what we wanna say; we hold back our tongue. In America if they like somethiní they let you know and if they donít they let you know right away."

On His Disadvantages Of Being Labeled A Conscious Rapper: "If I was less conscious, if that makes any sense, I wouldnít be making any sense and Iíd be playing on the radio all day every day for some strange reason cause thatís what people are attracted to."

On What He Wants His Fans To Remember: "Itís positive vibes all of the time! God is love Ė always remember that."

For more information [click here] or [click here].

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