Promise
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Promise

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2000 | INDIE

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2000
Solo Hip Hop Soul

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"Making A Change Through Music"

Following the Eaton Centre and Danzig St. fatal shootings, Sgt. Rod Chung used social media to challenge the city’s artists to produce a song that would stimulate positive change.

Joan Pierre, S/Sgt Shawna Coxon, Promise, Sgt Rod Chung, Aisha Wickham Thomas and S/Insp. Tony Riviere

Rapper and poet Promise answered the call, writing and producing an inspirational song – Make A Change – that was launched in late September.

“Music is very powerful and it influences many things our young people do and say,” said Chung, who joined the Service 12 years ago.

“Depending on what song has dropped that summer will dictate how the kids dress, what the new slang is and how they act. That was the genesis for this production.”

Promise, who has lost a few acquaintances to gun violence, was the only artist to respond to Chung’s Twitter challenge.

“I have a heart for young people and the community,” he said.

“I make inspirational music and my mission is to change lives. It’s important for us as artists to support initiatives like this because we are role models. We are entertainers who kids look up to and, once we are behind a microphone, we have to understand that we wield a certain amount of power and influence and with that comes responsibility. This is my job, but I don’t do everything for money. It’s about people and changing and saving lives.”

Chung, who grew up in Scarborough and aspired to be a professional athlete and businessman before joining the Service, has been using technology to fight crime in the last year.

“Through Twitter and Facebook, I was reaching out to different artists,” said Chung, who is affectionately known as ‘Officer Rod’ to the many young people he has mentored in the community.

“I didn’t tell them what I wanted. It was like, ‘Hey, how are you doing’? There is something coming up and do you want to work with me. Of course I am a police officer and I didn’t expect the response to be overwhelming. Just after Danzig, I sent out a tweet and I got a response from Promise, saying I am going to take up your challenge.

“It was amazing to actually work with him and be part of the production. I made it very clear from the beginning that I didn’t want him to blame anyone or to point fingers. All I wanted him to do was talk about the reality of life and what we need to do in order to move forward. He came up with the lyrics and put in some of our police terminology, like hot spots. I was really impressed and I fell in love with the song.”

Chung was not the only one to embrace Make A Change.

Chief Bill Blair, Deputy Chief Peter Sloly, Chung’s unit commander S/Insp. Tony Riviere and 33 Division Community Response Unit S/Sgt. Shawna Coxon also did.

“The recent increase in gun violence in the city, and the overwhelming response from politicians, media, police and citizens presents an opportunity for everyone to look for creative ways to engage, take ownership of the problem and develop solutions,” Coxon said.

“This project is a positive example of how citizens are inspired to take action and work with police to reduce violence and reclaim a sense of ownership in our city.”

Riviere said the song is timely and the lyrics very powerful.

“Following the Danzig St. shooting, there were many discussions about the safety of the city and many or our residents were understandably questioning how safe Toronto is,” he said.

“It dawned on me that it doesn’t matter how statistically safe we are, if our residents perceive our city to be unsafe, then that in itself is problematic…The song challenges our youth to stop the violence and us collectively to make a difference. It has the potential to change our perception of Toronto.”

The song was officially launched at a G98.7-hosted town hall meeting Sept. 30.

“We are a very community-focused station and 33 Division is right in our backyard,” said the station’s communications director, Aisha Wickham-Thomas.

“Our president and chief executive officer, Fitzroy Gordon, was very passionate about the station stepping up and playing a key role in spreading the message of making a change which is the song’s title and is the catalyst for this town hall discussion. Hopefully, today is the starting point for a broader community dialogue about what we can do across the city.”

Wichkam-Thomas said the lyrics have resonated with listeners and the song fits well within the station’s playlist.

“At the same time, it is music with a message, so it’s achieving multiple goals,” she added.

Chung is very appreciative of the radio station’s support.

“They have been very supportive,” he said.

“I didn’t have to sell it. They jumped on board, partnered with us and they strategically realized it without identifying the police as being involved. G98.7 has been simply amazing.”

Promise’s wife, Liya Shepherd – she’s an R & B singer -- and fellow artists Benjamin Tombe and T. Kaid also collaborated on the project. - Toronto Police


"Toronto Police and hip hop artist team up after summer of violence"

After the summer of gun violence came the culture of silence. Now comes the hip hop track, the latest salvo from a police service looking to inspire and connect with the city and youth it serves.

After the Danzig shootings, the Toronto Police Service teamed up with local artist Promise Shepherd to release a song called “Make a Change.” It’s the service’s first venture into the biz, with lyrics that call for ownership of the city and an end to violence. Promise wrote the lyrics and performs the song with some help from artists Kaid and Liya.

From verse one of “Make a Change”: “It’s a cold world but some hot spots in my city, I find it hard to rep a block in my city. Screwface, T dot is my city, nowadays you don’t wanna be a cop in my city, or a citizen, witnessin’, caught in the city, movies ain’t the only things getting shot in my city.” - Metro News


"Promise covers the Share with Toronto Police to #MakeAChange"

Promise covers the Share with Toronto Police to #MakeAChange - Share


"Local rapper releases song to inspire positive change"

In the wake of the Eaton Centre and Danzig Street fatal shootings, Toronto Police Sergeant Rod Chung used social media to challenge the city’s artists to produce a song that would stimulate positive change.



Rapper and poet Promise answered the call, writing and producing an inspirational song – “Make a Change” – that was launched last weekend.



“Music is very powerful and it influences many things our young people do and say,” said Chung who joined the service 12 years ago. “Depending on what song has dropped that summer will dictate how the kids dress, what the new slang is and how they act. That was the genesis for this production.”



Promise, who has lost a few acquaintances to gun violence, was the only artist to respond to Chung’s Twitter challenge.



“I have a heart for young people and the community,” he said. “I make inspirational music and my mission is to change lives. It’s important for us as artists to support initiatives like this because we are role models.



“We are entertainers who kids look up to and once we are behind a microphone, we have to understand that we wield a certain amount of power and influence and with that come responsibility. This is my job but I don’t do everything for money. It’s about people and changing and saving lives.”



Chung, who grew up in Scarborough and aspired to be a professional athlete and businessman before joining the service, has been assiduously using technology to fight crime in the last year.



“Through Twitter and Facebook, I was reaching out to different artists,” said Chung, who is affectionately known as “Officer Rod” to the many young people he has mentored in the community. “I didn’t tell them what I wanted. It was like, hey, how are you doing? There is something coming up and do you want to work with me? Of course I am a police officer and I didn’t expect the response to be overwhelming. Just after Danzig, I sent out a tweet and I got a response from Promise saying I am going to take up your challenge.



“It was amazing to actually work with him and be part of the production. I made it very clear from the beginning that I didn’t want him to blame anyone or to point fingers. All I wanted him to do was talk about the reality of life and what we need to do in order to move forward. He came up with the lyrics and put in some of our police terminology, like hot spots. I was really impressed and I fell in love with the song.”



Chung was not the only one to embrace Make a Change.



Chief Bill Blair, Deputy Chief Peter Sloly, Chung’s unit commander – Staff Inspector Tony Riviere – and 33 Division Community Response Unit Staff Sergeant, Shawna Coxon, also did.



“The recent increase in gun violence in the city and the overwhelming response from politicians, media, police and citizens present an opportunity for everyone to look for creative ways to engage, take ownership of the problem and develop solutions,” said Coxon. “This project is a positive example of how citizens are inspired to take action and work with police to reduce violence and reclaim a sense of ownership in our city.”



Riviere said the song is timely and the lyrics are powerful.



“Following the Danzig St. shooting, there were many discussions about the safety of the city and many or our residents were understandably questioning how safe Toronto is,” he said. “It dawned on me that it doesn’t matter how statistically safe we are, if our residents perceive our city to be unsafe, then that in itself is problematic…The song challenges our youth to stop the violence and us collectively to make a difference. It has the potential to change our perception of Toronto.”



The song was officially launched at a town hall meeting last Sunday.



Promise’s wife, R & B singer Liya Shepherd and fellow artists Benjamin Tombe and T. Kaid also collaborated on the project. - Share Magazine


"DXNEXT"

"When it comes to lyrical ability, Promise always comes correct but it’s his content that seems to catch people slightly off guard. Don’t 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."

T. Fowlow - Hip Hop DX


"15 Years of Duck Down Music"

Duck Down Music is celebrating its 15 Year Anniversary with a commemorative album that pays homage to what the fans voted to be the strongest record from each of the 15 years.

There are two bonus tracks from 1993 & 1994 to offer tribute to Black Moon’s hit record “Who Got The Props,” and Smif N Wessun’s classic “Sound Bwoy Burial.”

An exclusive track was recorded for the year 2010 called “Better Than You” featuring Buckshot, Skyzoo, Promise & Sean Price, produced by Double-O of Kidz In The Hall. - RapN'Blues


"Duck Down Brings Attention To Alzheimer’s Disease"

We’re all for good hip-hop for a good cause, and we get the second example this week of this today with “Run To Remember” by Buckshot, Smif N Wessun, and Promise (Double-O on the beat). The backstory goes as such: “Earlier this year Dru Ha (co-owner of Duck Down Music) lost his Father to a 10 year battle with Alzheimer’s. In his Father’s honor, Dru Ha announced that he will be running the ING New York City Marathon on November 6th in an effort to raise donations & awareness about the horrific disease that affects over 5 million people in the United States alone. To date, Dru Ha has raised over $10,000 in donations. ” 10gs is a lot, but we can do better, do your part in supporting the cause by buying this song on iTunes – proceeds from the sales will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Research Foundation. - OKAYPLAYER


"Duck Down Artists Collaborate For the Alzheimer’s Research Foundation"

Dru Ha, co-founder of Duck Down Music, lost his father to Alzheimer’s earlier this year after a ten-year struggle with the disease. To honor him, Dru Ha will be running in the ING New York City Marathon on November 6th, raising both awareness and proceeds towards research for a cure. Lending support to the effort, Buckshot, Smif N Wessun and Promise

Read more: http://www.thefader.com/2011/10/24/stream-buckshot-smif-n-wessun-and-promise-run-to-remember/#ixzz285K4ZkX4
- FADER


"INTERVIEW: Vents Mag"

Promise is a lyricist. An avid songwriter. A musical mastermind. An optimistic positive thinker. A dreamer. The spokesperson for Hakuna Matata lol, an overall good guy. - Vents Magazine


"NBA2K11 Features Hip-Hop Stars As Playable Characters"

Last year's NBA 2K entry was arguably the greatest to date, thanks to the inclusion of legend Michael Jordan via the Jordan Challenge mode, which let you play through some of his sparkling career moments.

And sure enough, the NBA Blacktop mode offers up another helping of playable hip-hop stars, with big names like Drake and Snoop Dogg flanked by the likes of Bow Wow, Promise, Buckshot, Skyzoo, and Sean Price. - Complex Magazine


"INTERVIEW: Sound Advice: Awakening by Promise"

Promise may have christened his debut full-length Awakening, but he’s been up and at ‘em for a while now. A decade of independent grind has earned the Toronto MC a deal with New York indie label Duck Down Records, his own character in NBA 2K11, and collaborations with high-profile artists like Royce da 5’9? and Montell Jordan. But what’s remarkable is that he’s managed to do it all while being a total goody two-shoes.
Much in the same vein as Shad, Promise is a positive rapper steering away from the game’s prevalent larger-than-life, shit-talking shtick to speak earnestly. Opener “The Wake” (streaming right) epitomizes his MO effectively: string-laden, ’90s-era boom-bap beats (courtesy of local producers like Boi-1da, Rich Kidd, and Positivibes), clever punchlines (“I won’t back down when the heat comes/just watch/Chris Bosh”), soulfully sung hooks, and articulate thoughtful-dude flows about answering his call from the man upstairs. Yes, while Shad may have slight spiritual undertones, Promise expresses his faith point-blank. On “Don’t” he laments those who blame God for being dealt a bad hand, while on “Hereafter” he raps about there being an afterlife, which he heard about “straight from the pastor’s mic.” - Torontoist


"INTERVIEW: Worldwide Rap"

Raptalk is always working to bring you the best of new talent in the music industry. Certainly a breath of fresh air who has received comparisons to Kanye West and Common, Canadian artist Promise is going to make a large impact on the music industry in 2010. With tracks under his belt with Royce Da 5'9, Montell Jordan, J. Ivy and more, along with co signs from Crooked I, Talib Kweli, Rhymefest among others, it's no surprise that legendary east coast label Duck Down Records signed up Promise as soon as they heard him. Peep out the new video interview with Promise - RAPTALK


"INTERVIEW: Introducing Duck Down's Newest..."

Raptalk.Net had the blessed opportunity to kick it with many of the legendary artists on Duck Down Records such as Buckshot, Smif-n-Wessun and many more this past weekend in Toronto, Canada. Although those were all great experiences, the most pleasant and surprising one was our run in with new Duck Down Records artist Promise. - RAPTALK


"Ya Betta DUCKDOWN!"

NYC’s Duck Down Records is looking to be stepping up their game in ’08, with numerous recent additions to their roster, with some additional rumours floating around.

As announced during the Boot Camp Clik Canadian Tour this fall, Duck Down has inked their first Canadian artist with an upcoming release from Toronto based emcee Promise. Promise has quietly been putting together a massive project – the album More Than Music features the lead single “In God We Trust” feat. Elzhi of Slum Village, singer Calvin Richardson, and Chi-Town spoken word artist J-Ivy. Take a peek at the lead single over at his myspace http://www.myspace.com/promisemusic. Stay tuned for a full run down of Promise’s new album at TheCyberKrib.com and TheCyberKrib United in the near future. - TheCyberKrib


"REVIEW: Promise - Awakening (4 out of 5 stars)"

Toronto, Canada is proving to be a place where all sorts of talented rappers can be found. From a Kingdom standpoint there are guys like Shad and Relic, among many others, who succeed in standing for the Faith while being embraced by the local hip hop general market. Promise (the Apostle) is right there in that mix as well, a veteran that brings his his third studio album Awakening to the forefront. Let’s take a closer look at what this lyricist has to say to move those stuck in slumber.

1. The Wake: Opening with a poignant spoken word, the tone is loud and clear that Promise’s aim is to impact more than profit. Promise briefly takes the listener back to the fledgling seeds of his dream all the way through to its current development in the awakened state of reality. Intertwining beautiful instrumentation by E. Jones of The Soul Council and pristine vocals by O’Sound, this is definitely a high quality track.

2. Clark Kent feat. Regular Robb: Addressing fame and facades, Promise and Regular Robb take complete advantage of the crafty production of J. Manswell. He takes a stance of keeping it humble and lowkey on the hook, “You want me to be Superman, but I’d rather be Clark Kent. Save em at the drop of a dime, I’m trying! I’m handing out content!”. I’ll give him a couple clever points for how he plays off a once popular song about Superman and flips it on its head. The growth and explanation of his mission as a “hero in disguise” who aims to lead folk to The Cross is refreshingly evident as each verse progresses. This repeat- worthy track could make for a nice video as well.

3. Something Better: Positivibes puts together a thoughtful instrumental for Promise to wax poetic over. Openly discussing where his life and where his strength lies, Promise covers a lot of ground in a manner that will challenge and encourage. O’Sound shows up on the hook again, and adds some vocal soul to Promise’s lyrical efforts. Already I like Promise’s approach in saying what he needs to say and not feeling he has to go three verses just to be heard.

4. Hereafter: Mixing a bit of an old school, piano- driven sound with a Pop/ R&B hook, Promise tells a few stories to help adjust the focus from what this life offers now to what awaits in the hereafter now. Ebrahim provides the vocals, and Promises ability to paint pictures is on point. The opening of the playlist is definitely proving to be solid thus far.

5. Everyone Knows feat. Tony Williams: This would be the first song that I feel was a bit nondescript, though Realblazemusic did a good job with the sound he was going for. The violins really complimented the various vocal styles that intersected throughout the length of the track. Promise focuses his flow on challenging the wasteful fortunate to be more considerate of those who go without.

6. Back When (Things Were Simple): Promise continues to pour his soul out as he utilizes a smooth, jazzy track formulated by The Arcitype. I smiled a little as his reminiscing hit home with a lot of what I experienced growing up. You could say part of awakening is taking a step back and remembering what it meant to have a childlike faith, even as childish things are put away. DJ Versatile’s scratching and Grier Munro’s singing help fill this song out very well.

7. Against The Odds feat. Jhene Aiko: This track is arguably my favorite, as Realblazemusic puts together a nice piano and drum track that again veers away from the “normal” hip hop sound. Promise speaks on the music business and his experience navigating through its treacherous terrain, intent on not compromising. Considering his veteran status, there’s a lot to glean from the 4 minutes and 5 seconds of information he brings out. Jhene Aiko proves to be yet another talented singer that helps enhance the soulfulness of this project.

8. Gonna Make It: Produced by The Arcitype, this is that song that mentions staying focused on goals while ignoring haters. Promise intertwines some 3rd person accounts with some of his own story to help awaken the applicable listeners from any daze of self- doubt. Solid track that is not the repeater but definitely not a filler.

9. Somebody Else: This track features complete instrumentation that helps bring life to the rhythm. Promise brings life to the rhyme as he speaks about the masks people wear in order to try and maintain a certain social status. I like that this song will force those with ears to hear to awaken from the idea of people pleasing. Very musical song that definitely makes you want to listen to it a few times over.

10. Don't: Realblazemusic’s musical compositions seem to get better with each successive song he gets on this project. Promise puts together another strong story- based track that focuses on the life- altering predicaments of two people, who subsequently choose to blame God. The effect on the hook threw me off at first, but I do understand its purpose of helping to illustrate the anguish and desperation - DaSouth


"INTERVIEW: SXSW"

Hailing from Toronto, the 27-year-old lyricist Promise colors his performances with an R&B swoon, a soulful swagger, and a nod to the old school, creating an infectious blend of smooth beats and upbeat, positive vocal flow. He's come a long way since cutting his teeth as an emcee in high school, and his latest studio release – More Than Music – features collaborations with Montell Jordan, Royce Da 5'9", and Rhymefest. One hears the inspiration of gospel and faith in Promise's vocals, but in a way that's warm and inviting, not campy and obtrusive – Promise is more than just a hip-hop artist inspired by R&B and soul and he'll be showing it all at SXSW.

Describe your sound in your own words.

Real, refreshing, soulful, good. It's hip hop/soul, an emcee/lyricist backed by melodic/soulful compositions, usually accompanied by vocalists.

Is there a story behind the name Promise?

Promise is my first name, Promise (covenant) Jason (healer) Jamal (beauty) Shepherd (leader). Promise is a biblical reference from my Christian faith.


What are your musical/hip-hop influences?

I'm influenced by good music – music that feels good, rappers who actually rhyme [laughing], and lyricists that focus on wordplay, patterns and concepts. I like people like Common, Lauryn Hill, John Legend, Lupe, early Kanye.

How did you get started as an emcee?

I was kickin' it in the school cafeteria one day with my people and an older dude working part-time there heard me, pulled me aside and said, "What you're saying, doing is REAL inspiring, you should take it more seriously." And I did. From there I was recruited to be in a Wu-Tang-type collective, I took co-op at a studio that ended up hiring me, did my very first CD demo there, and the rest is history.

You've done a lot of collaborations – what are some of your favorites?

So far, I really like what I've done with Marco Polo, Wordsworth, eLZhi, Drake and a few others. Certain people just really inspire me and bring the best out of me, and vice versa. I also like work I've done with J. Ivy and others from Chicago.

Any interesting stories behind how some of your collaborations came about?

Yeah, definitely. When I met Drake MANY moons ago on the set of Degrassi, he wasn't even making music!! He heard I could spit, approached me all humble, heard me spit, felt it, and showed me he'd been writing but not really recording. So I asked to hear some, and it was good, so I brought him into the studio and we started making hits. I introduced him to other talented artists I know – like Aion Clarke aka Voyce Alexander [singer/songwriter] and AmiR [producer] – and they hit it off and started making classics. I tried to put him on to other heads in the city, but they weren't having it because of his acting background. I tried to tell him he was the one, like Ne-Yo. Now look at where he is and what he's accomplished already! I'm so happy for him, hopefully I see him soon.

Do you act?

I do a bit of acting, nothing serious though.

Who is on your wish-list of people to work with?

Lauryn Hill is probably my No. 1 right now. I love that she sings and raps - amazing. Lupe, Common, Kanye and John Legend – I've always been a fan of the whole G.O.O.D. music movement, and they're dope. I'd LOVE to do songs with K-OS and Sauks singin' on the hooks – I really feel it when they sing. Phonte – I like when he sings and LOVE when he raps. I can't wait to make some classic LB-type stuff. Love the way J. Cole puts together his patterns – eLZhi and Crooked I, too. Drake, because we made great music before. Man, I could go on...

Your album 'Dope' [with 2DopeBoyz] has the same exact album cover as 'American Apathy' by the rock band Dope. Do you know the guys in the band Dope?

I have no idea who that is. Me and Shake [2dopeboyz] just had an idea - based off the acronym - as my entrance to the U.S., so we made a flag into a door.

What's your biggest vice?

Having hooks that are too lyrical or not repetitive enough – I guess if you can even call that a vice! [Laughing]

Who was your first celebrity crush?

Never really had one, to tell the truth. I guess Stacey Dash seems to be someone I've remembered over the years. Though I've never liked her roles as that stush, high-maintenance girl...

What's in your festival survival kit?

Blackberry Curve and Promise promo cards, that's it.

What's your musical guilty pleasure?

My man Justin Beiber! He's dope, and from where I'm from.

Beatles or Stones?

Beatles. Maybe it's my age, but I just feel like I felt and know more from them.

What's the craziest thing you've seen or experienced while on the road?

Haven't been on the road THAT much yet, but I remember the first show I did in the U.S. was in Detroit, and I started spittin' and this dude in front row was so amazed at the lyrics that he dropped his glass and it smashed on the floor. My manager and I also drove across the states to Cali and I did 25 hours s - SPINNER


"INTERVIEW: The Rhyme Perspective, Promise."

Add me on Twitter. Not just to talk but to show these silly labels that people do want good music, they support numbers over talent, quantity over quality, let's show them we don't! - praverbdotnet


"INTERVIEW: With Promise"

Promise a Canadian emcee recently signed to Duck Down Records has been building a very good stream of music for the last few years. He recently released Awakening his second LP and continues to make a dent in Hip-Hop music with his catalog of work. Collaborating with artists from Royce Da 5'9, Elzhi and Shad K, he has been building a strong reputation among his peers that his fans are already aware of. Recently Promise had the time to answer a few of my questions about Awakening and other things. - TheWolvesDen


"REVIEW: Promise - Hip-Hop From The Soul"

Awakening is the latest release from Toronto native and Duck Down Music artist, Promise, and is now available on iTunes.

This unique blend of soulful gems and potent lyrical content gives listeners much more than your average rap album. Promise delivers with songs from the soul, based on real life issues like love, success and faith; concepts that are lacking in mainstream music.

No stranger in the hip-hop scene, Promise has been around for over 10 years and worked with artists such as Drake, Boi-1da, and Shad. For his new album, he turned to musical genius Slakah the Beatchild, G.O.O.D. Music’s Tony Williams, and Jhene Aiko for help on making a beautifully soulful album.

Some of the album’s gems include Everyone Knows featuring Tony Williams, Somebody Else with Slakah, Down, and Memories. Working with multi-talented Slakah the Beatchild was a “humbling” experience for the rapper. “This guy is doing everything, playing every instrument. He’s such a humbling guy. He has the right to be cocky, but he’s not.” Promise went on to add, “He knows my vibe, I write more songs that I rap. Working with him was just great – it’s fun- it’s not like it’s work. We just have fun!” That fun and joy certainly comes across in their song Somebody Else which embodies so many different elements, as you listen, you just can’t help but vibe to it.

After having the chance to see Promise perform live, you gain even more appreciation for the type of music he makes. “A capella, that’s my style. I like people to know what I’m saying,” explains Promise. And for the skeptics, Promise has no doubt that hip-hop and God’s word can coexist. “I think it challenges them to understand that there are different delivers of the message. It’s possible for someone to be doing rap and still be a believer.” Promise’s music comes from a real place and as a listener, you can tell. “Gospel comes out ’cause it’s in my heart,” he says.

His music is certainly from his perspective and he would be the first to tell you that it isn’t for everyone, but just everyone like him. In a world that seems to be filled with fake artists and messages, it’s inspiring to know that true artists like Promise do exist.

Look for upcoming music videos and single releases from Promise. - Sway Magazine


"REVIEW: Promise - Awakening"

For those who are thus far unfamiliar with Promise, Awakening is a good time to get familiar. Originally from Toronto, Promise moved to the US in recent years and is currently being managed by Duck Down Music. Released in 2011, Promise’s most recent album, Awakening, is a musically rich and lyrically engaging listening experience. - MC FÜBBment


"REVIEW: Promise Delivers With ‘ Awakening’"

Well, what more can we say? Promise has returned with his third solo effort entitled, “Awakening”. Promise is one of a handful of artists with the unique ability to cohesively incorporate intricate wordplay while painting a vivid picture in his listener’s mind.

But you and I both know why you’re really reading this review; you’re wondering whether this project is more like his two previous offerings, “The Promise that Heaven Kept” or if it’s closer to “More than Music”. Right?

Here’s the skinny: the primary criticism from Promise’s first release (The Promise that Heaven Kept), was that the production could have been more diverse – a fair criticism as the album showcased just one producer. With Promise’s second release (More Than Music), the production was more diverse, but met with some measure of disappointment as Christians took issue with the number of “secular” collaborations on that particular project. With “The Awakening” – Promise has listened to his supporters and created a masterpiece. Yes, I said it.

‘ Awakening’s’ production is emotional and diverse and Promise brings his A-game to the table. His wordplay and storytelling abilities have always been stellar – but with this project, his emotion really shines through. It seems as if he really ‘cares’ for the listener and makes a sincere effort to encourage them. Here’s the cherry on top; no secular rappers, which means his hardcore Christian fans will be extremely happy.

If you were debating on whether you should pick up this album, wonder no more. Anyone who has followed Promise from the days when he was known as “Promise D’Apostle – The Street Messiah” – can take comfort in the promise (pun intended) that they will love this project .

Notable tracks: ”Clark Kent”, “Something Better”, “Everyone Knows”, “Don’t”, ”Memories”. - NiftyChristian


"REVIEW: Promise drops new album, Awakening"

Like lyricism? Like good hip-hop? Like Canadian hip-hop? Like music that’s good for your soul? Cop the new Promise album on iTunes - Ill Breaks


"REVIEW: Promise Shares A Message That "Everyone Knows" But Few Say"

Promise is back with his sophomore album, The Awakening. Just by the track listing alone, it’s obvious that Promise is handling more responsibility in carrying the album. When he does have a feature, the production and arrangements are more inventive. This is displayed in Everyone Knows featuring Tony Williams, a talented singer-songwriter on Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music imprint. Everybody Knows has the sonic feel of two worlds colliding. It’s violent drums and Williams’ smooth vocals exemplify the conflict between selfish materialism and selfless giving in a world where wealth inequality abounds. Promise unveils the irony of a person buying “a grill” for their mouth that could “grill us a meal” for those living in poverty. Promise is giving a bold warning that the culture of consumption is blinding us to the people we’re called to help. Only an emcee as wise as Promise could powerfully convey this message. It goes without saying that Promise is a Hip Hop activist that the world needs to hear. - Imade iN Truth


"Duck Down Music is opening a Canadian Branch"

Leading the charge under the new Canadian-Division is Toronto-based rapper, Promise. - Abort Magazine


"News Toronto (Late Night): Promise - Make A Change"

News Toronto (Late Night) | Sep 30, 2012 | 10:02
Late Night CBC TV News from Toronto - CBC NEWS


"Promise Makes a Change with TorontoStar"

Toronto Police Service teamed up with local artist Promise Shepherd to release a song called “Make a Change.” It’s the service’s first venture into the biz, with lyrics that call for ownership of the city and an end to violence. - thestar.com


"Promise: Game Time"

Toronto MC Promise hasn't even released a debut album yet, but not only does he have a track on NBA 2K11, he's featured as a playable character. Signed to venerable NY hip-hop label Duck Down, Promise joins other MCs on the soundtrack and on the court, but Drake is the only other Canadian. Promise's hardwood character draws on the attributes of the shooting guard position he played back in the day, but he stresses that he demurred on enabling his virtual court self with Jordan-esque abilities. "I wanted it to be realistic, but still be a good player," says Promise. "I want to miss some shots." Freely admitting the shot clock on his real-life basketball days expired long ago, Promise is focusing on releasing debut full-length Awakening, due out in late 2011. - EXCLAIM


"Promise Finds Home With Good Fruit Co. After Ventures With Drake & Duck Down"

After a stint with Duck Down Music, working with Drake early in his career and helping No Malice craft the soundtrack for his End of Malice film, Promise has had his fair share of experiences in the rap world.

He worked with the fellow Toronto rapper when they both appeared on Degrassi in the early 2000s. He recalls knowing the teenager who played Jimmy Brooks, who last week released his fourth studio album, VIEWS, would be a star.

“I always knew he’d be successful because he’s good and he had all the right things together,” Promise says in an exclusive interview with HipHopDX. “He had a following. He had money of his own. He had a fanbase because he was already a teen star and stuff like that. But I didn’t know he’d be the number one artist in the world. I didn’t know it would be like that or happen so fast.”

Instead of trying to compete for the title of 6 God or chasing his own platinum record, Promise has found a home with Good Fruit Co., an independent label that announced his signing in March. The company was founded to represent Asian-American artists, but Promise has fit right in as he finds the group’s authenticity more important than cultural barriers or dollar amounts.

“I’ve been on big stuff before,” he says. “I’ve been in studio with gold recording artists and stuff like that, and that’s fun and that’s cool and that looks nice on Instagram and stuff like that, but at the end of the day, these guys to me, we haven’t even known each other for a full year yet, and yet we’re like family. It just feels good.”

Promise reached out to one of the label’s artists, J Han, on Instagram after seeing one of his music videos and appreciating his energy. The two connected and then J Han invited Promise on tour.

“I had the best time with them,” he says. “It was amazing. I was just blown away at their work ethic. So we built our relationship and our friendship over that two weeks and it just felt like we’ve always been working together, we’ve always been together and from that sprung the idea of making it official and moving forward doing some official projects.”

His first project on Good Fruit is the Tellavision EP, a five-track project that has a dual meaning.

“It’s based on television and media, the mainstream media and the stories they’re trying to tell and they’re trying to implement their ways into the youth,” he says. “So I wanted to depict that all in the picture of the front where there’s a baby and the baby’s face is basically a television. Also, it’s spelled ‘Tell-A-Vision,’ meaning sharing your story. It’s also based on that. That’s kind of a general call out to people to share their own stories, share their testimonies, also what I do in my music, I’m very big on storytelling, not purposefully, it just seems to be something that I do a lot.”



Tellavision marks a new chapter for Promise’s sound. He seeks to blend his songwriting, which is actually his primary job, with his raps. The song “Cliches and Trends” stands out to the Toronto rapper as the best on the EP for its powerful meaning and blend of sounds. While encouraging listeners to live in their purpose without blindly following popular culture, he offers a challenge to the current music industry with the lyric, “We are alive, but are we awake?”

“There’s a certain type of music that’s like drug music,” he says, referring to artists such as Young Thug and Future. “You don’t even understand it unless you are intoxicated. Those people who are in that trance are like zombies. Are you alive or are you awake? Do you even know what this song is saying? Are you listening to the lyrics?… Yeah we’re breathing, but are we really alive and awake to what’s going on? Do we see what’s going on? Do you hear what you’re listening to, what you’re feeding yourself? What you’re feeding your kids? Do you understand what’s happening?… It’s just a feeling. It’s just a ‘Oh yeah, I love this.’ But you don’t know what they’re saying. And if you really knew what they were saying, would you still like it?”

Seeing the success of this type of music gives Good Fruit’s newest signee a sense of purpose in trying to bring an alternative for people to listen to. Part of the way he is bringing something new to the industry is by furthering the duality of the EP’s title with what Promise names as his favorite song, “Why Don’t You.”

“It’s so different than anything I’ve ever done or anything that anyone would expect from Promise, so that’s one reason I like it,” he says of the track. “It’s so different, the style of beat, the fact that I’m pretty much singing the whole song then I come and rap a little bit in the end, it sounds so aggressive, but it’s really not an aggressive song in nature. It’s a love song. So it’s not, ‘I’m mad at you.’ It’s, ‘I’m hurting. Why don’t you let me just love you?’ It’s a pain and joy in the same.”

This song is a moment for Promise to give listeners a glimpse into his faith. The love does not only apply to human relationships (he is a father of three), but it is a reflection of how he sees God’s love for people.

“People like to paint Jesus is their homeboy or he’s a meek carpenter who just loves me all the time and is only gonna talk nice to me,” he says. “But if you’re a parent or if you know parenting, you know that you can be hurt and upset with somebody, but totally love them and lay down your life for them.”

Promise Works With No Malice And Duck Down

To help with Tellavision‘s theme of sharing personal stories, No Malice appears on “Who You Are.” Promise worked on Movin’ Weight, the soundtrack for the former Clipse rapper’s End of Malice documentary. Promise says that writing with No Malice and hearing his testimony helped him broaden his vision of the music industry.

“I can only imagine, when you’re at that level, he’s a platinum recording artist, was signed to Pharrell’s label with his brother Pusha T, at the top of Hip Hop pretty much,” he says, “I’m kinda like on a low level and I can see certain things in the industry that are like, ‘Whoa, that is bad. That’s dark.’ So I can only imagine when you get so popular and so far and so deep into the industry, the demons that attack you with that level of influence that they had. So I got to hear all of that, all his testimony and everything, that was cool. That kinda helped the writing process and forming more ideas for the soundtrack.”

Another soundtrack that was an important moment in Promise’s career was when he was featured on was NBA 2K11 with members of Duck Down Music. His one-album contract with the label and experience touring gave him a sense of legitimacy.

“It was cool and it really helped bring authenticity to my brand and my career and just kind of give me that Hip Hop stamp,” Promise explains. “That, ok, not only does he rap, he’s a real Hip Hop artist.”



He has fond memories of the late Sean Price, especially since they both went by the nickname “P.” One recollection that Promise holds dear is when Price stormed into his hotel room because he was so excited the new artist was joining them on tour.

“He’s like, ‘Yo, P, you didn’t tell me you were gonna be here,’” Promise says Price told him. “In my mind I was like, ‘Am I supposed to text everybody and let them know?’ I don’t know, if you looked at the flier, my name’s there. It felt good ‘cause it was like he’s acknowledging me and our friendship.”

Later on, the legend gave him a rare public co-sign that was captured on video.

“He was like, ‘I don’t really endorse dudes too much, but this dude right here, my man Promise,’ he was just talking about the music and the performance and how he liked it or whatever,” the rapper says. “That was cool that was heartfelt. I’ve gotten quotes from people before, but not a lot of in person endorsements like that. That wasn’t even asked of him. He just did that.”

Promise says that Price’s harsh public persona is not what he was like in real life. He cherishes remembering him as a family man.

“He loved his daughter. He loved his wife,” Promise recalls. “Stuff like that you don’t know because his rap character is very abrasive. But behind the records, he was a great guy, a funny guy, a gentle guy. As manly as he was, he had a side that was nice and not so rough. For those who know that side, they know that, but a lot of fans don’t know that. He was a genuine guy. He grew up in a rough place so that affects how you live or how you are, but he was a good guy.”

In a similar way, Promise emphasizes that even though he enjoys music and writing, he puts his family and faith first. His musical journey has brought him many places and it will continue to do so as Good Fruit is planning a tour to Korea and Japan. Through it all, Promise says that he has learned to live in the moment and enjoy each chapter.

“These are just stepping stones, I make sure that everybody always knows that,” he says. “Anybody that I’ve worked with or that I’m working with now, it’s either, if I’m not here forever, I don’t know. I don’t know what God has in store for me for next year even. I might be with somebody else. I might be doing a third project with Good Fruit. I don’t know yet. But right now I’m trying to do things one at a time and just give it my all each time and see where God takes it.” - HipHopDX


"Promise Finds Home With Good Fruit Co. After Ventures With Drake & Duck Down"

After a stint with Duck Down Music, working with Drake early in his career and helping No Malice craft the soundtrack for his End of Malice film, Promise has had his fair share of experiences in the rap world.

He worked with the fellow Toronto rapper when they both appeared on Degrassi in the early 2000s. He recalls knowing the teenager who played Jimmy Brooks, who last week released his fourth studio album, VIEWS, would be a star.

“I always knew he’d be successful because he’s good and he had all the right things together,” Promise says in an exclusive interview with HipHopDX. “He had a following. He had money of his own. He had a fanbase because he was already a teen star and stuff like that. But I didn’t know he’d be the number one artist in the world. I didn’t know it would be like that or happen so fast.”

Instead of trying to compete for the title of 6 God or chasing his own platinum record, Promise has found a home with Good Fruit Co., an independent label that announced his signing in March. The company was founded to represent Asian-American artists, but Promise has fit right in as he finds the group’s authenticity more important than cultural barriers or dollar amounts.

“I’ve been on big stuff before,” he says. “I’ve been in studio with gold recording artists and stuff like that, and that’s fun and that’s cool and that looks nice on Instagram and stuff like that, but at the end of the day, these guys to me, we haven’t even known each other for a full year yet, and yet we’re like family. It just feels good.”

Promise reached out to one of the label’s artists, J Han, on Instagram after seeing one of his music videos and appreciating his energy. The two connected and then J Han invited Promise on tour.

“I had the best time with them,” he says. “It was amazing. I was just blown away at their work ethic. So we built our relationship and our friendship over that two weeks and it just felt like we’ve always been working together, we’ve always been together and from that sprung the idea of making it official and moving forward doing some official projects.”

His first project on Good Fruit is the Tellavision EP, a five-track project that has a dual meaning.

“It’s based on television and media, the mainstream media and the stories they’re trying to tell and they’re trying to implement their ways into the youth,” he says. “So I wanted to depict that all in the picture of the front where there’s a baby and the baby’s face is basically a television. Also, it’s spelled ‘Tell-A-Vision,’ meaning sharing your story. It’s also based on that. That’s kind of a general call out to people to share their own stories, share their testimonies, also what I do in my music, I’m very big on storytelling, not purposefully, it just seems to be something that I do a lot.”



Tellavision marks a new chapter for Promise’s sound. He seeks to blend his songwriting, which is actually his primary job, with his raps. The song “Cliches and Trends” stands out to the Toronto rapper as the best on the EP for its powerful meaning and blend of sounds. While encouraging listeners to live in their purpose without blindly following popular culture, he offers a challenge to the current music industry with the lyric, “We are alive, but are we awake?”

“There’s a certain type of music that’s like drug music,” he says, referring to artists such as Young Thug and Future. “You don’t even understand it unless you are intoxicated. Those people who are in that trance are like zombies. Are you alive or are you awake? Do you even know what this song is saying? Are you listening to the lyrics?… Yeah we’re breathing, but are we really alive and awake to what’s going on? Do we see what’s going on? Do you hear what you’re listening to, what you’re feeding yourself? What you’re feeding your kids? Do you understand what’s happening?… It’s just a feeling. It’s just a ‘Oh yeah, I love this.’ But you don’t know what they’re saying. And if you really knew what they were saying, would you still like it?”

Seeing the success of this type of music gives Good Fruit’s newest signee a sense of purpose in trying to bring an alternative for people to listen to. Part of the way he is bringing something new to the industry is by furthering the duality of the EP’s title with what Promise names as his favorite song, “Why Don’t You.”

“It’s so different than anything I’ve ever done or anything that anyone would expect from Promise, so that’s one reason I like it,” he says of the track. “It’s so different, the style of beat, the fact that I’m pretty much singing the whole song then I come and rap a little bit in the end, it sounds so aggressive, but it’s really not an aggressive song in nature. It’s a love song. So it’s not, ‘I’m mad at you.’ It’s, ‘I’m hurting. Why don’t you let me just love you?’ It’s a pain and joy in the same.”

This song is a moment for Promise to give listeners a glimpse into his faith. The love does not only apply to human relationships (he is a father of three), but it is a reflection of how he sees God’s love for people.

“People like to paint Jesus is their homeboy or he’s a meek carpenter who just loves me all the time and is only gonna talk nice to me,” he says. “But if you’re a parent or if you know parenting, you know that you can be hurt and upset with somebody, but totally love them and lay down your life for them.”

Promise Works With No Malice And Duck Down

To help with Tellavision‘s theme of sharing personal stories, No Malice appears on “Who You Are.” Promise worked on Movin’ Weight, the soundtrack for the former Clipse rapper’s End of Malice documentary. Promise says that writing with No Malice and hearing his testimony helped him broaden his vision of the music industry.

“I can only imagine, when you’re at that level, he’s a platinum recording artist, was signed to Pharrell’s label with his brother Pusha T, at the top of Hip Hop pretty much,” he says, “I’m kinda like on a low level and I can see certain things in the industry that are like, ‘Whoa, that is bad. That’s dark.’ So I can only imagine when you get so popular and so far and so deep into the industry, the demons that attack you with that level of influence that they had. So I got to hear all of that, all his testimony and everything, that was cool. That kinda helped the writing process and forming more ideas for the soundtrack.”

Another soundtrack that was an important moment in Promise’s career was when he was featured on was NBA 2K11 with members of Duck Down Music. His one-album contract with the label and experience touring gave him a sense of legitimacy.

“It was cool and it really helped bring authenticity to my brand and my career and just kind of give me that Hip Hop stamp,” Promise explains. “That, ok, not only does he rap, he’s a real Hip Hop artist.”



He has fond memories of the late Sean Price, especially since they both went by the nickname “P.” One recollection that Promise holds dear is when Price stormed into his hotel room because he was so excited the new artist was joining them on tour.

“He’s like, ‘Yo, P, you didn’t tell me you were gonna be here,’” Promise says Price told him. “In my mind I was like, ‘Am I supposed to text everybody and let them know?’ I don’t know, if you looked at the flier, my name’s there. It felt good ‘cause it was like he’s acknowledging me and our friendship.”

Later on, the legend gave him a rare public co-sign that was captured on video.

“He was like, ‘I don’t really endorse dudes too much, but this dude right here, my man Promise,’ he was just talking about the music and the performance and how he liked it or whatever,” the rapper says. “That was cool that was heartfelt. I’ve gotten quotes from people before, but not a lot of in person endorsements like that. That wasn’t even asked of him. He just did that.”

Promise says that Price’s harsh public persona is not what he was like in real life. He cherishes remembering him as a family man.

“He loved his daughter. He loved his wife,” Promise recalls. “Stuff like that you don’t know because his rap character is very abrasive. But behind the records, he was a great guy, a funny guy, a gentle guy. As manly as he was, he had a side that was nice and not so rough. For those who know that side, they know that, but a lot of fans don’t know that. He was a genuine guy. He grew up in a rough place so that affects how you live or how you are, but he was a good guy.”

In a similar way, Promise emphasizes that even though he enjoys music and writing, he puts his family and faith first. His musical journey has brought him many places and it will continue to do so as Good Fruit is planning a tour to Korea and Japan. Through it all, Promise says that he has learned to live in the moment and enjoy each chapter.

“These are just stepping stones, I make sure that everybody always knows that,” he says. “Anybody that I’ve worked with or that I’m working with now, it’s either, if I’m not here forever, I don’t know. I don’t know what God has in store for me for next year even. I might be with somebody else. I might be doing a third project with Good Fruit. I don’t know yet. But right now I’m trying to do things one at a time and just give it my all each time and see where God takes it.” - HipHopDX


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Wit. Flow. Drive. These are the monikers that describe Hip-Hop soul artist, Promise. He seamlessly blends conceptual songwriting and potent lyrical content with a focus on life, love & the consciousness of mankind.

Determined to break down musical barriers and live outside of society's box, Promise rises up with skill and confidence that is incomparable. Simply doing what he was destined to do, he makes music that makes a difference and even Talib Kweli has called Promise's work "flymad heartfelt and inspirational."

Deemed a hip-hop sensation, Promise has the proven ability to take any person beyond the shallow surface of life. As Peace Magazine duly noted: Promise has a rhyme style reminiscent of Rakim. His approach to Hip-Hop is old school with new school delivery. Im impressed; they compare me to Nas, Common, Kanye West, he shares. Promise comes with lyrical proficiency, and moving reality based content. Inevitably, he is well on his way to becoming one of the most distinguished artists of his time.

His first project, Awakening boasts features from J.Ivy (Def Poetry), The World Famous Tony Williams (G.O.O.D Music), and Def Jam's newest songstress Jhen Aiko who lends her vocals on the lead track Against The Odds. The album also features production credits from 9th Wonder's SoulCouncil front-man E. Jones (Ludacris, Common, Lil' Wayne), in addition to industry newcomer Lord Quest (Schoolboy Q , Asher Roth) and many more.

Band Members