Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Promise of Hip Hop

The Promise of Hip Hop

Paul Scott

In a Hip Hop world full of testosterone, it is rare to find a female rapper, especially one with her head on straight. One such artist is New York's Promise.

Originally born in the Sunshine State, Promise, who also goes by the stage name "Pretty Beast" (because when it comes to rhymin', she's a beast on the mic) moved to the Big Apple at the age of three. Like many youngsters, she fell in love with Hip Hop in junior high school. She names Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and Lauren Hill as her major influences.

"I started off with poetry but I love music, says Promise. "There was no other way to get my feelings out."

Although, the artist would not go into detail about the feelings that she needed to express she says that she has been "through a lot of things" dealing with "abuse in some way."

One thing that she would open up about was the issue of the adoption of African American children. As an adopted child, herself, she weighed in on the current trend of white entertainers like Angelina Jolie, Madonna and now, Sandra Bullock adopting black babies.

"All people should be allowed to adopt black babies, " says Promise. "Love is love."

The "twenty something" emcee also spoke about the few female rappers that are currently receiving radio play. Although Hip Hop legends such as Queen Latifah, rapped about respect, the raunchy subject matter of artists such as Nicki Minaj is the polar opposite. However, Promise says that she's not gonna knock their hustle.

"Art is art and everyone has a different perspective, she says. "Personally, I wouldn't do it. I'm different."

Even socially conscious rapper, Erykah Badu, recently raised some eyebrows when she sang semi-nude in her latest video, "Window seat."

"I know what her vision was; expression of her self expression," says Promise. "But am I going to let my five year old cousin watch it?"

The artist's sense of social responsibility goes way beyond rap music, as she is also head of an organization called "Promise Makes a Difference Through Music."

Promise says that she formed the organization because of her experience working at a group home for six years.

The owner of a production company says that she teaches young women how to produce music and has taken her program from Long Island to other parts of New York. This is her way of teaching young girls to express themselves in a positive manner.

"Sometimes we don't take time to tune in to what young people want, feel and need," she says.

Promise personifies the classic line from Hip Hop group, Dead Prez, "It's bigger than Hip hop."

"Music is just a tool. Behind it is education."

To reach Promise, contact or 877-352-4842 ext 125.

Paul Scott writes for No Warning Shots