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2017 Music Nova Scotia Awards: Quake wins SOCAN Songwriter of the Year Award

2017 Music Nova Scotia Awards: Quake wins SOCAN Songwriter of the Year Award

Saukrates – Amani [EP]

Toronto, ON – It’s been a minute since Saukrates dropped a new project on us. But on Sept. 23, Soxx dropped the heat with his new EP entitled Amani. Just so we’re all on the same page, here, “Amani” is Saukrates’ middle name. His full name is Karl Amani Wailoo. And if you cop a listen to the project, you’ll find out that “Amani” actually means “peace” in Swahili. Neat, right?

Anyways, Big Soxx is gearing up to drop a new album on us. So this EP serves as a little teaser as to what’s to come. This EP is only four tracks and 14 minutes long. But it hits hard. Here’s the breakdown for you: it’s two parts hungry rap-cat comeback, one-part suave sexy sexiness, and one-part deep autobiographical introspection. Amani includes a cool little feature from West Coast rap cat, SonReal, as well as co-production courtesy of Rich Kidd and SNAZ.

 Saukrates – Amani [EP] -

Purchase via iTunes

I’m ‘a be real with y’all: I decided to cop a listen to Amani after listening to the podcast interview our fam at The Come Up Show had with the Big Soxx. I was pretty lukewarm on some of his recent work. He does a lot of features and doesn’t get enough solo shine. Example: despite how much I loved Shad’s Flying Colours album, I had to eventually come to terms with that fact that I wasn’t a fan of that Soxx hook on “Stylin.” Soxx has pulled the short stick far too many times. In two decades, he’s only managed to drop a few projects. But dude’s a beast. He can rap, sing, and produce. So many cats call themselves “artists” these days. It’s easy enough to lay claim to the title. But if you’re just spitting bars and have no appreciation or knowledge of your trade, you’re 100 per cent flex. Soxx is an artist though; he’s the full package.

The project kicks off with “Kingdom Come.” This is one of those hungry rap-cat comeback tracks I mentioned earlier; it’s the necessary OG ish. Soxx comes in all wound up and sets the record straight: “I can’t help you when kingdom come.” SNAZ delivers a chopped up soulful beat that packs a punch. Of course – being the humble dude that he is – Soxx also takes the time to give love to his fellow Canadian rap cats. He gives a shout-out to the OVO fam. And says, “Get ’em, son.”

The title track “Amani” is better than any Wikipedia page biography around. Soxx gets personal. The track is formatted as a dialogue between Soxx and his fans. But at times it almost seems as though he’s just speaking to himself: “Hey Amani.” It’s like that grade school assignment we all had to do: ‘Write a letter to yourself 10 years ago… bla..bla bla….’ You know what I’m talking about, right? You had to write a letter to yourself and reflect upon deep introspective things. This is what Soxx is doing. He stays honest about his upbringing and his footprint in the game. He’s also pretty critical of himself –  everything from his “mean mug,” to questioning whether he is a “Rasta or an imposter.” But the track rolls even deeper than that. Because through it all, Soxx is still “Amani.” A lot of cats compartmentalize their stage personas and their real identities; they won’t mix the two. But Saukrates allows us to familiarize with both at once. That is rare.

“#FYEO” is an acronym which stands for “for your eyes only.” Which is kind of sexy. See, Soxx totally made a chick record. I’m digging that he only made one, though. Too many chick records on a new project and you become Wale (Editor’s side note: I should probably mention that I’m still sleeping on The Gifted; but from what I’ve heard it was nothing like the early Wale tapes that cats were bumping).

It’s no secret that women are the ones who buy records. Seriously. I get a lot of free music and demos. But if I’m feeling a record or a project, I’ll purchase it (spoiler alert: I did buy a copy of Amani, and you should, too). “#FYEO” is an ode to the strippers. And let me set the record straight, here: just because Soxx is versing about strippers, it doesn’t make the song any less suave. Remember T-Pain’s “I’m In Love With A Stripper”? That was a great song to get it on to. This has a similar vibe. It’s just pure female appreciation. And SonReal takes it to the next level on the hook. Beautiful.

The project finishes off with “The Big Bang.” This track delivers more than enough flex and floss to keep us itching on that new album release. This is the ultimate comeback track. The big bang theory dictates that the world went – BAM KABLAM – and everything expanded into its existence. Soxx finally gets a chance to do his rapper thing and talk about how great he is: “It seems daddy’s semen had a blueprint.” I love that line. Because he’s essentially saying ‘I was born to be great.’ But instead of saying that, he gives us a commentary on his conception. And raps the word “semen.” Oh my god. I feel like I’m 14 years old, or something. This is hilarious.

Either way, Soxx is establishing that he’s here to make a rap Big Bang. Which – hypothetically – could be his forthcoming album release. Rich Kidd is getting in on the production on that one, too. That’s right – two Canadian MC-producers of supreme status are teaming up to give Soxx the long-overdue project that we’ve been waiting on. So in the meantime, I’m ‘a repeat what I said earlier: I did buy a copy of Amani. And you should, too.

Twitter: @BiggSoxx

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Sarah Jay

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Sarah Jay is based in Calgary and works as a freelance journalist and photographer. Sarah is also a former A&R talent scout for the Universal Music Scouting Program, and runs a vintage store during the day. Sarah has juried the JUNO Awards, The Polaris Music Prize, and The Prism Prize. She has been fortunate enough to interview and photograph some of hip-hop's greatest influencers including Future, ScHoolboy Q, Ghostface Killah, Moka Only, Maestro Fresh Wes, Shad, Joey Bada$$, Mac Miller, and more. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @ThisIsSarahJay

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