Saukrates headlines Sunday Night Live

By Quinton J. Hobson

Saukrates takes the stage at the Revival Bar with Shi Wisdom.
Saukrates takes the stage at the Revival Bar with Shi Wisdom.

An artist conquers an entirely different hierarchy of success once they have become known by only one name, carrying it around with them symbolically like a medal or trophy – intangible but nonetheless notable; invisible, yet at the same time perceivable by all.

Not to detract from or undermine the many successful musicians who prefer to go by their full names, for an artist’s worth is truly measured by their talent but in the history of music, only a few performers have managed to achieve this rare Grammy-like honour of mononymity – Madonna, Beyoncé, Prince to name a few, whose last or birth names, which we must Google to find out, seldom come to mind.

Such is the case for Karl Amani Wailoo, better known as Saukrates, a multi-hyphenated rapper-singer-songwriter-record producer from Toronto, whose upcoming concert Sunday Night Live precedes the release of his forthcoming album Season Two, on which the artist is currently working.

With a grand total of four Juno nominations under his belt, Saukrates is often credited with pioneering the Canadian hip hop music scene back in the late 1990s during a time when pop, rock, country and dance artists dominated, before he was even 20.

However, like most accomplished performers, Saukrates’ musical journey was far from a walk in the park. Although the success of his first single Still Caught Up won him the attention of Warner Bros. Records in 1996, Saukrates was dropped from the label in 1998 when the studio’s hip hop division was essentially terminated.

This slight setback did not hinder the performance of the artist’s first studio album, The Underground Tapes, eventually released under Saukrates’ co-founded Capital Records, and would ultimately earn the rapper his second Juno nomination: Best Rap Recording for the album’s only single Money or Love.

A performer in his own right, Saukrates continues to devote much of his own time and talent to assisting other artists with their careers from behind the scenes – or rather, behind a mixing board – as a producer, while collaborating with some of music’s biggest names, among them Nelly Furtado.

Meanwhile, Saukrates’ influence as one of the artists responsible for establishing Canadian hip hop as a legitimate genre can be found today in Canadian rappers  Kardinal Offishall, Drake and Shad, as well as R&B songstresses Jully Black and Divine Brown.

Held at the Revival Bar, 783 College St., on Sunday (April 5), Sunday Night Live is being promoted as a night of “live music and laughs,” featuring performances of both classic and new material by Saukrates fresh on the heels of the release of his most recent extended play Amani, which much like his previous studio efforts garnered a Juno nod for Best Rap Recording in 2015.

Shi Wisdom
Shi Wisdom

The concert is also slated to feature appearances by special guests, among them recording artist Shi Wisdom and singer-songwriter Maurice Moore.

Doors open at 10 p.m. The concert is for everyone aged 19 and up with general admission at $15. For more information on tickets, contact promoter Andre Blenman at 647-222-7178 or andreblenman@gmail.com. Tickets are also available online at TicketGateway.com.