On their new record, We Could Only Hope, Partners in Rhyme incredulously ask habitués of local nightclubs, "Are you kidding? Hip-hop doesn't start at 21." They've answered their rhetorical question by holding their CD release party at The Underground, an all-ages venue.
Following on the tails of their Spring 2006 debut, Unification, We Could Only Hope talks about learning from mistakes, dealing with regrets and guilt, resolving to "take action, make change, something will come out of it" in the chorus to "Surrounded," and moving from "cutting classes to cutting classics" in the title track. Sasha explains: "Me and Tim, when we were teens - now I'm 22 and he's 21 - we got caught up in a lifestyle that wasn't really us." Tim, MC Prospect, and Sasha both grew up on the North side of Indianapolis, but they didn't meet until 2004. Sasha thinks that they have complementary personalities; he works PR and hits up clubs while Tim stays behind the scenes, crafting lyrics and perfecting beats.
And the beats on We Could Only Hope are clean and unobtrusive; samples pop up here and there (including lengthy excerpts from a '50's novelty record and the more recent film The Shawshank Redemption), but the emphasis of the record is on the rhymes themselves, even about the struggles and successes involved in the act of writing.
The closing track, "Hip-Hope," is one of several calls for the Indianapolis scene to raise itself out of the doldrums and keep working towards better living through music. "Hip-hope is a concept I came up with right around the time that our last album dropped. Hip-hop - add an e, subtract an e - it's all the same, because it brings us joy and unifies us," he says.
Toe Jam, one of three emcees in The Philosophy, produced two tracks for We Could Only Hope, guest-rapping on one of them, "Three." He's also enthusiastic about playing an all-ages show: "You can't forget about kids: the music that you were into when you were a kid and teenager stays the closest to you."