Saukrates reaches across the divide

This is the second of a two-part series of chats about music with Saukrates, also known as Soxx.

By Dave Douglas

The seventies saw some tough times. North America grappled with high rates of inflation and economic stagnation. However, during that same time, Star Wars was released, the first computer game Pong was invented and hip hop was born, thanks to Sugarhill Gang’s Rapper Delight.

Rapper, singer, songwriter and producer of Guyanese descent, Saukrates in conversation with The Caribbean Camera gave us an introductory course in rap music appreciation and production. First, Soxx let us know that producing for hip hop music is different from producing other forms of music.

“The energy behind the creation of music can come from listening to somebody else’s record, whereas, in hip hop we just love that portion or that loop where we feel we can bring it back to life. Hip hop is based on breaks, where you take a part of a record, then loop it and make your own song. But that is only one way out of the many ways I use to make records. The magic behind the production is to create something original even if it’s unoriginal because it’s sampled.”

During our talk, Saukrates emotionally expressed how he felt about the art form and his vision for reaching across the generational divide within his own community.

“It’s great! I love it because I live in that world and I enjoy having that same power but there’s no more to a song than what hip hop suggests.” Being affiliated with The Caribbean Camera through my father (columnist Oscar Wailoo) for so many years, I find that within the communities: the Caribbean community, the Black community in Canada, there is a generation gap and I always love to be able to build bridges between those gaps and for people to accept, at least, even the first portion of music, would be great; not just the young, not just the middle and not just the old but everybody.”

Soxx figures his Big Black Lincoln project proved that he can make music for all generations and it also shows his growth in this group album when he teamed up with Ajile, Shakare Nyte, Traxx and Ro Dolla, four of his friends, and released a soul album with 19 songs. They only rapped on the last song. They sang on the whole album and it was released under the moniker Big Black Lincoln.

“So, it’s important! That is why I told my dad that this interview would be great to do because I want to expose my music to everyone. I want people to hear this album outside of what’s popular in the young urban community.

“I would love for it to go a little further. I know the cussing and some of the concepts might not fit in but I would love for it to at least be heard and accepted as our own. That would say, this is ours, he is ours and we back him. That is very important to me,” says Soxx.

Amani Saukrates Wailoo is itching for the community – Canadian, Black Folk, Caribbean Folk – to embrace, even though it might not be shouting out the names of certain countries. (Oh, I’m Guyanese and I have to rap in a Jamaican accent.)

No! No! He said that this is ours, we are here, let’s support it and be responsible for each other because it always comes back tenfold.

That’s very important to him and he doesn’t expect anything to happen right off the bat or actually even to happen at all. And to him, that’s very sad.