Or so the expression goes. I know because I hear it repeated in sitcoms all the time. And sitcoms represent reality. I can’t remember the last time I heard it in first person life but thats probably my fault, a result of my lack of worldliness. The phrase even pops up in my internal monologue, particularly when I don’t get what I want, so that means it has to be valid and I should comfortably utilize it to make a point about something that I would rather not spend the time to articulate differently. A promise is a one-sided obligation and anyone who says different is a troublemaker.

Like all future commitments, this particular one has historically been difficult to keep. Especially for rappers. And extra especially for their copyright ignoring producers. Many new rap records disappoint old timers because the artists are confined to “creating” within the boundaries of copyright law. If it can’t be cleared and therefore is not commercially viable, whats the point? Samples are reworked, dropped off entirely or hidden to the point of irrelevance. But, a promise is a promise, so they have to keep trying, right?

Yesterday’s unveiling of the first taste of Freestyle Fellowship’s new Decon supported LP is not a wowee. It doesn’t induce particularly strong head nodding or multiple rewinds, er, skip-backs. And I can’t help but think part of it is because of the focus on sales. But what does it do?

It reminds me that I’m getting older. That my expectations are grander than my contributions, which I am sorry for (although you made me this way!). And that youthful, economically unburdened creativity can be awesome.

Although not articulated, the fans that grew up and now have to set aside money for laundry instead of vinyl and mp3s, didn’t they hold part of the commitment? We still expect to be wowed with best of class stylings and genre defying music. We still expect you to want to counter the mainstream. But we don’t expect to pay for it? Can you blame them for not wanting to push the envelope?

We’ve recorded seven or eight of them already. I wouldn’t say that they’re super pushing the envelope, but they’re not falling back on what we’ve done in the past. You could say it’s a similar sound, but I wouldn’t say that — it’s less a sound or style than an approach to music. Our take on a particular situation. Myka and I used to always be onstage in drama classes and it’s sort of like that, it’s about being put in a situation. Our music just plays around with that and makes it easy for producers. Creating is a fun thing, it’s always come naturally to us.

To be clear, this leak is not a disappointment to me in the way Cuban Linx II was. It is actually good and each MC contributes a worthy boast. The music, especially the beginning, is satisfying and well constructed. It serves as a good teaser for more, especially when you only get one verse from such powerful wordsmiths who could easily grab my attention for albums at a time. I just hope as more music drops or when I finally cop the album that I can reconcile my expectations appropriately to the reality of their situations.

Either that or continue to look forward to the day rappers start to sell non-public, “unannounced” (aka illegal) music on tours that only fans, not the industry, will know about. Hint, hint.