By Jasminee Sahoye
This is his fourth Juno nomination – the first was almost 20 years ago – but for Amani Wailoo, aka Saukrates, he’ll be absolutely surprised if he wins this time as he says the other nominees are all winners.
He said he considers the other nominees in the Rap Recording category, Marco Polo, Naturally Born Strangers, P Reign and Tre Mission, as friends and associates rather than competitors. He’s nominated for the self-titled four-track album Amani. His fourth release, Amani is co-produced by Rich Kidd and Snaz with guest appearances by Son Real.
“I did put out an album called Season One in 2012, and I thought after being out of the limelight for such a long time but still recording with other artists and touring, being busy, that for sure would give me a nomination.
“I’m already surprised with the nomination so to actually win, again, that will be just another notch up the ladder,” he told The Camera just hours after the announcements by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences at Danforth Music Hall on Tuesday.
The 44th Juno Awards will be held March 15 at Hamilton’s FirstOntario Centre. The awards recognize excellence in Canadian music. Magic leads with five nominations, followed by Kiesza and Leonard Cohen with four each.
“A lot of the guys I’ve worked with like Choclair, Kardinal, Jully Black, Devine Brown, they’ve all won and I have produced songs on their records, so it feels like a win when they win. But to get one personally and actually be able to put it up on a mantle would be amazing.”
Born to Guyanese parents, Saukrates says he’s an artist at heart who also sculpts and paints. He says about 80% of his songs have yet to be released, adding that he and his family party and have fun with them.
Considered a fixture in the top-tier of the Canadian hip-hop scene, he’s been a rapper, singer or producer on almost every Canadian major label hip-hop release over the past 20 years. He has provided artists such as K-os, Swollen Members, Jully Black, Rascalz, Kardinal Offishal, and Choclair with his unique style of production that has become synonymous with the Toronto hip-hop sound. He’s also worked with artists in the U.S. like Redman and Method Man.