Saukrates Interview

I had the honour and privilege to interview a legend when it comes to Canadian hip-hop. This is the transcript of that interview. You can also download the podcast for free from DOPEfm. Without further ado, here’s the show.

Chase: “Alright everybody, this is Chase March. Gamma Krush is on my left here and on my right is…”
Chase: “How’s it going man?”
Saukrates: “I’m good. I’m good.”
Chase: “Nice. I’ve been a fan of you since your first track dropped ‘Still Caught Up.’ That was getting a lot of play on Mastermind Street Jam at the time and a lot of college radio. And at that time, it seemed that there was such a buzz built around Saukrates, and we were just waiting forever for your album to come out. That track came out in ’94 and I got the vinyl of it. I love that song, by the way. It took some time to get your first album out though didn’t it?”
Saukrates: “Yeah it did. Just went through some ups and downs with a couple labels, one being an independent label that we did the Father Time album with. That was kind of a hard time. And then Warner Brothers, spent about two or three years there as well, in their kind of sh*tty situation that they were going through. So we decided to compile a lot of the material from a few albums and put it all out in ’99.”
Chase: “That was ‘The Underground Tapes.’ That was a good album.”
Gamma Krush: “A classic.”
Saukrates: “Thanks guys!”
Chase: “You had quite a few guest appearances on there as well. You’ve worked with quite a few different artists, like; Masta Ace, O.C., Common, Redman, Methodman, and more recenty K-os, and D-sisive. So you’ve worked with some really amazing talent there.”
Saukrates: “Yeah, totally. It’s been a good time. And more to come.”
Chase: “Excellent. I hate to draw comparisons here but the buzz around you was so huge in ’94. It reminds me now of the buzz around Drake. Drake is already blowing up and it’s taken you a long time to get that status, which is kind of a shame because you’ve had some false starts with majors, but you do have a new album coming out soon, ‘Season One.’ Is that on a label or are you doing that yourself?”
Saukrates: “Yeah, we’re on Universal Music. Still over there.”
Chase: “Are you producing the songs on there too?”
Saukrates: “I did a bunch of them but I also reached out to some of my favourites. Rich Kid’s got a couple on there. I had Colin Monroe come in and do some work with me as well. A kid named Phrase from Jersey did the first single with me and Redman called ‘Drop it Down.’ So it’s a nice little mix of producers.”
Gamma Krush: ‘So this kid from Jersey?”
Saukrates: “Yeah, Phrase. I don’t know if he’s just a discovery of Redman’s but he definitely throws a lot of beats Gilla House’s way, ya know what I mean?”
Chase: “Alright I want to play one of your tracks right now. You’ve got some new stuff that I’ve been feeling. I really like ‘Hot Like Summer.’ We’ll play that song right now and we’ll come back with more Saukrates. Gamma Krush spin the track.”
Chase: “Alright, that was ‘Hot Like Summer’ from Saukrates featuring Andreena Mill, is that how you say it?”
Saukrates: “That’s right.”
Chase: “Is she an artist you’ve been working with a lot?”
Saukrates: “For a long time. We’re just finishing up her album right now. She’s helped me do a lot of writing. She’s flourishing so well. I used to have her and Melanie Fiona singing back up for me and both of them are like best friends. So, yeah, she’s about to blow. Go get the mix tape!”
Chase: “Nice. I want to touch on some of your lyrics there because I’m a lyrical dude and you had some good things to say there. I like your verse, It says, “all our tribulations end up in trial / either in front of the judge or in front of the crowd.”
Saukrates: “That’s right!”
Chase: “And your next line is speaking volumes to me. It says, “my life and me have a love-hate relationship.” What do you mean by that?”
Saukrates: “I guess just the struggle aspect of it. When you choose this rock ‘n roll lifestyle, ya know, it’s half and half. The great times are being on stage and doing your art. But other times, as far as just going through the actual business of it all, can be challenging. So it is a love-hate relationship. ‘On the run for money and standing ovation sh*t.’”
Chase: “Yeah, I like that. You go on a little further saying I really have to work hard at this, you say, ‘Bust my ass the hemming way, write scripts every day.’”
Saukrates: “That’s right!”
Chase: “When I interview an MC, I really like to touch base on the lyrics but I was looking at yours and thinking, ‘Hmm. my favourite stuff from you is like ten years old, I don’t want to talk to him about ten-year-old lyrics.’”
Saukrates: “Nah, well they’re all relevant. It’s all relevant. None of it is going anywhere. It’s just adding on. Ya know, when you talk to Quincy Jones or Dr. Dre, you like to dive into the whole catalog. My music wasn’t meant to be only appreciated at a certain time. So go ahead. We can go as far back as we want.”
Chase: ‘Nice. I like that, because almost in hip-hop and especially in radio and the blogosphere like we do here at DOPEfm, a lot of it, ya know, focuses on the new, and it’s almost to the exclusion of the old. There’s always something new on the blogosphere and we’re spinning new tracks all the time but I still wanna play ‘Still Caught Up’ from your 1994 vinyl that we got. We spin that. ‘Cause that’s classic right there.”
Saukrates: “Yeah, man. A lot of my fans when they approach me, they’re still bringing up ‘Hate Runs Deep’ and ‘Father Time’ and the early records. It’s great. It just means that the 15 plus years of work is being respected.”
Gamma Krush: “Financially too because from what I hear, ‘Hate Runs Deep’ goes for a pretty penny now. Cats out in Japan will auction it for 60 bucks or something.”
Saukrates: “Yeah, that’s probably the lowest. I’ve heard $100, $150, up to $300 for original vinyl if they can get their hands on it. I’m thinking I might have to repress and bring out the old label of it and just go get some money again too.”
Gamma Krush: “I think with all the old Canadian vinyl Chase and I have, we might have to beef up security at our homes.”
Saukrates: “Yeah, you just might.”
Chase: “Maybe we shouldn’t be telling people we have all that stuff. But we’re real hip-hop heads here. And it’s interesting to see because you haven’t blown up yet really. You’ve got your hardcore fans but not everybody knows your name. And that’s curious because you’ve worked with quite a few people. I saw you on the Grey Cup with Nelly Furtado, and you produce stuff for Redman. In my mind, I was really expecting to see Saukrates huge, ya know?”
Saukrates: “Well, it ain’t over.”
Chase: “It’s definitely not over.”
Saukrates: “It ain’t over and we’re only adding on. It’s just getting better and better. You don’t’ even have to keep your fingers crossed. I’ll guarantee you that we’re going there.”
Chase; “Yeah, ‘cause after ‘Still Caught Up’ the next big track you were on was ‘Innovations’ on 2Rude’s album with Pharoah Monche. That was a cool track.”
Saukrates: “Thank you.”
Chase: “Recently you’ve got one with D-sisive. I really like what D-sisive has been doing lately. He’s been just dropping stuff like crazy. So you did a track together called ‘Wednesday’ and I’d like to spin that one right now.”
Saukrates: “Play it. Play the record!”
Chase: “Alright. So this is ‘Wednesday.’ Saukrates featuring D-sisive. Gamma Krush spin the track and we’ll be right back.”
Chase: “Alright that was ‘Wednesday: the Remix’ with D-sisive and we’re sitting with Saukrates, How’s it going Sox?”
Saukrates: “It’s going good. It’s a nice day. I thought it was gonna a little more wet out here and a little colder but it’s nice. It’s a good day to be out here puffing a cloud.”
Chase: “Yup, ‘cause we’re at the Toronto Freedom Festival right now and you’re going to be going on stage in a little bit.”
Saukrates: “That’s right.”
Chase: “So, why this festival? Why are you here today?”
Saukrates: “I’m a good friend of Gavin Gerbz, who is one of the guys who helped to bring this whole thing together. Big C, Craig Mannix, he’s another guy. They’d asked me to get on it last year but we had conflicting schedules and I wasn’t able to do it. They asked me again this year and I had a little time where I could so here I am.”
Well this ends Part 1 of the Saukrates Interview. Make sure you go and download the podcast for free and come back tomorrow to read Part 2.