PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Saukrates: Amani EP

The Armani EP is at the very least interesting, with a blissed-out vibe.


Saukrates

Amani EP

Label: Culvert Music / Universal Music Canada
US Release Date: 2014-09-23
UK Release Date: 2014-09-23
Amazon
iTunes

Canadian hip-hop artists have had a bad rap (sorry) south of the border. Saukrates is no exception. If you do some reading up on the guy, he’s had his share of bad luck: he’s completed records at least twice, only to get dropped by his respected labels. So not only has Saukrates had a hard time getting into the U.S. market, he’s had problems getting his music out there, period. However, Saukrates is known for his collaborations. He’s performed with Nelly Furtado, and has collaborated with Method Man and Redman on a track. He has worked with others as well. He also is credited with giving Drake his start. That means Saukrates is hardly an also-ran. Now we have new music from this classically trained rapper. The Amani EP is so named for Saukrates’ given name. And it’s incredibly soulful and pop culture-laden: there’s references from everyone from Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, and Eddie Murphy, and TV shows such as Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Big Bang Theory get name dropped.

Here’s the thing, though. The Amani EP is a tad not up to scratch because, on the first two songs, Saukrates proves that he’s a commercial, clean rapper with a staccato style. Just listening to him is a marvel to behold. However, by the time you get to the last half of this EP, Saukrates is dropping the n-word and the f-word like no tomorrow, earning this short disc a Parental Advisory sticker. That’s the disappointment. I know, I know, rap is usually full of cuss words, and perhaps with good reason: if I were a black man who could be gunned down by police officers who fear a black man unarmed, I’d probably have a good reason to swear like a sailor, too. However, the transition from skilled rapper to tough guy is jarring and rather unfortunate. Saukrates proves in the first two songs that he has talent, and he certainly doesn't need to drop f-bombs to prove that he deserves to be taken seriously. And this is coming from a guy with a soft spot for songs like “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe”. Perhaps if the cussed-up stuff wasn't buried at the end of the disc, I might have had a different opinion. But, as it is, it just seems as though Saukrates wants his cake and eat it, too: he wants to be commercial at first and then he wants to appeal to the gang bangers out there. Still, despite all of that, the Amani EP is at the very least interesting, with a blissed-out vibe (De La Soul is an influence), and should go some way to proving that Saukrates can hang with the best of them in the American marketplace.

6

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.

Music

Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.

Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Music

The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller
Music

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.

Music

When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.

Music

20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.

Music

The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.

Books

Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.

Music

Kimm Rogers' "Lie" Is an Unapologetically Political Tune (premiere)

San Diego's Kimm Rogers taps into frustration with truth-masking on "Lie". "What I found most frustrating was that no one would utter the word 'lie'."

Music

50 Years Ago B.B. King's 'Indianola Mississippi Seeds' Retooled R&B

B.B. King's passion for bringing the blues to a wider audience is in full flower on the landmark album, Indianola Mississippi Seeds.

Film

Filmmaker Marlon Riggs Knew That Silence = Death

In turning the camera on himself, even in his most vulnerable moments as a sick and dying man, filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs demonstrated the futility of divorcing the personal from the political. These films are available now on OVID TV.

Film

The Human Animal in Natural Labitat: A Brief Study of the Outcast

The secluded island trope in films such as Cast Away and television shows such as Lost gives culture a chance to examine and explain the human animal in pristine, lab like, habitat conditions. Here is what we discover about Homo sapiens.

Music

Bad Wires Release a Monster of a Debut with 'Politics of Attraction'

Power trio Bad Wires' debut Politics of Attraction is a mix of punk attitude, 1990s New York City noise, and more than a dollop of metal.

Music

'Waiting Out the Storm' with Jeremy Ivey

On Waiting Out the Storm, Jeremy Ivey apologizes for present society's destruction of the environment and wonders if racism still exists in the future and whether people still get high and have mental health issues.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.