Here is Part 2 of the interview I did with rapper / producer Saukrates. If you missed Part 1, you can go back and read it now. You can also download the podcast of this show for free. As an added bonus, Gamma Krush spins some classic Saukrates jams right after the interview. Nice stuff!
Today, among other things, we talk about his hit song with K-os “I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman” and you can see the really cool video of it here as well.
Without further ado, let’s continue the transcript.
Chase: “I’m here with Saukrates at the Toronto Freedom Festival and we just played the ‘Wednesday’ remix featuring D-sisive. What was it like working with D-sisive because I’ve heard some interviews with him and he seems to have quite the sense of humour and just be hilarious. So was it like that in the studio too?”
Saukrates: “We did it over the Internet. So we didn’t even go that far, man. I just sent him the music with nothing on it and said, ‘Go wild,” and he sent it back to me. That’s how we came up with the title too because he said he was going to be ready on Wednesday. I said, ‘That’s what we gonna call the song.’”
Chase: “That’s awesome. So once you knew you’d get in on Wednesday and once you heard what he did, did you turn that into a metaphor and then bounce it back and forth?”
Saukrates: “That’s exactly what it was. I then went ahead and did a version by myself and then pulled him in for the remix.”
Chase: “Nice. So Wednesday is referred to as the hump day that we gotta get over. It’s just another trial and once I pass this, everrything’s cool right? Is that kind of what you’re saying with this song?”
Saukrates: “That’s exactly what I’m saying with this song. You got it, right on the nose.”
Chase: “Is this going to be on the new album?”
Saukrates: “Yes. Produced by Tone Mason, who’s another production team I got on the album too. They did ‘Hot Like Summer’ as well.”
Gamma Krush: “Very familiar household name in Canadian hip-hop.”
Saukrates: “That’s right. One love to Mellenius. That’s my homie right there.”
Chase: “For anyone not familiar with Saukrates here, why Socrates? Why did you pick that as your emcee moniker?”
Saukrates: “I was young. I wanted something that would stand out. I didn’t want to be MC This or Letter-That. I wanted a name that would stand out and that was strong. I spelled it differently because it wasn’t following the philosophies of the original name. That’s it. It’s really just that simple. When me, Kardinal, Marvel, when we were all starting out, we were just trying to find our way, and that’s something I came up with, something that would stick to the wall. So when people hear it, they never forget it.”
Chase: “Those other acts you just mentioned were part of The Circle. And there was a big time in Canadian hip-hop there were it just seemed like we had such an amazing scene. We had The Rascalz, Kardinal Offishall, Thrust, you, and it seemed like, ‘Okay, we’re gonna take the world by storm.’ And then we didn’t them by storm. It took a while but Kardi got some recognition and huge play with the track he did with Akon. So it seems to have taken a while for all this potential we had, here in Toronto, to go worldwide. Why do you think that is?
Canadians don’t have a hard time blowing up. Avril Lavigne, Celine Dion, Shania Twain, when it come to female talent, Canadian solo artists are huge. So why does it seem to be taking forever for the MCs to pay your dues and get exploded stateside and worldwide?”
Saukrates: “The demographics up here are different. We got about 30 million people up here in the whole country and in the U.S. it’s over 300 million people. So there are more people listening to hip-hop down there. There’s a good handful of them listening to it up here and die hard fans but the demographic doesn’t necessarily allow for a huge plateau which is why we all end up traveling to get to that next level of success and break through the glass ceiling that is Canada.”
Chase: “So, to that end, have you been doing a lot of tours, a lot of shows?”
Saukrates: “I just got back from Syracuse this morning. I just did that last night. Syracuse University with K-os, Drake, and N.E.R.D. I’ve been touring with Drake and K-os for the past month. We got another week to go and then when I get back I take off of my promo tour for the ‘Season One’ album. I’m bringing Redman on the road with me. We going across Canada, Europe, Japan, and a few dates in the U.S. as well. We have to think internationally to be successful as an MC coming out of Toronto.”
Chase: “For sure. Your album title scares me, ‘Season One’ because all my favourite TV shows seem to get cancelled.”
Saukrates: “That’s a cool way of putting it.”
Chase: “So I hope I’m not jinxing ya.”
Saukrates: “No, I’m just setting up for Season 2, and Season 3, and Season 4.”
Chase: “A classic series right?”
Saukrates: “That’s right, I’m a lifer.”
Chase: “One thing I want to talk to you about is the song with K-os. That chorus is amazing. Did you produce that song?”
Saukrates: “No, Rich Kidd did the beat but me and Nelly Furtado wrote the hook. I wrote my parts and she freestyled her parts when we were out in Paris a couple years ago. But Rich Kidd did the beat.”
Gamma Krush: “Props to Rich Kidd, we had him on the show last November.”
Chase: “I was flipping around the TV and I caught The O.C. and I never watch that show and I was like, ‘Woah, that sounds like ‘I Wish I knew Natalie Portman’ so I wanted to talk about the production of that track.”
Saukrates: “What’s funny about that is, we brought some recognition to that song so people do think that The O.C. Anthem sounds like our song when it’s really the other way around. The O.C. Anthem is a cover of the original song that Rich Kidd sampled. But it works hand in hand. We brought some awareness to it and every time we perform it, the people love it.”
Chase: “It’s a great song. Your version of it is called ‘On the Run’ and K-os calls it ‘I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman.’ Why Natalie Portman? Do you know?”
Saukrates: “You know Kevin, that’s my homie. He likes to live outside of the box, not just think outside of the box. I believe his story about that was comparing it to a successful Canadian and how she managed to get through Hollywood and he just kind of pulled that out of the air. I had nothing to do with that title but once I heard it, I loved it. I knew exactly what he was thinking, how to bring some attention to it as well because she’s one of our homegrown superstars. I love his imagination. It was great to do it that way because we can put the song on both records.”
Chase: “So anyone who hasn’t already picked up K-os definitely needs to pick up your album now. It has one of the catchiest choruses I’ve heard in a long time. I love that song! Since we’ve been talking about it, I think we need to play that one.”
Saukrates: “What’s going on y’all? This is Saukrates, hanging out at the Toronto Freedom Festival, about to get high as hell. We wanna play you a special record of mine. It’s called ‘On the Run’ but if you ask my big brother K-os, we also call it, ‘I wish I knew Natalie Portman.’ Go ahead with it.”
Gamma Krush: “Where was that video filmed?”
Saukrates: “Just north of Pickering. Out East.”
Gamma Krush: “Near K-os’s hometown”
Saukrates: “I think he’s further east. We were just north of Pickering, out near Brooklyn, out in the sticks.”
Well this ends Part 2 of the Saukrates Interview. Make sure you go and download the podcast for free and come back tomorrow to read the conclusion. Thanks for tuning in!
Read Part 3