Saukrates, Pharoahe Monch & Shad Show Why They Are MCs Who Stand The Test Of Time (Audio)
Last summer Saukrates re-released his 1999 album The Underground Tapes, making it available in digital formats for the first time, while delivering some new remixes and updated versions of those old songs. The Toronto, Ontario-based MC continues to deliver new exclusives to accompany the album, whether you’re a day-one fan who copped the vinyl back in ’99, or a new fan just discovering the album digitally in the last year. In similar fashion to the way he did an updated version of his song “Hate Runs Deep” with Kardinal Offishall, Choclair and Marvel, he now has released a 2018 edition of the song “Father Time,” this time collaborating with Shad and Pharoahe Monch. The song premieres today at Ambrosia For Heads.
While the original version of the song released in 1995 featured Saukrates spitting some harsh raps at wack MCs who can’t stand the test of time, this 2018 edition sees Big Soxx a bit more humbled. He’s still braggadocious, but takes aim at his city’s reputation as the Screw-Face Capital with lines like, “I speak on me and not on you / Choose your own lane, and your face unscrewed / I got too much to lose spending time to be hating on you / Respect Soxx, he’ll put faith on you.” He takes lines from his original opening verse and reworks them to reflect where he is now in his life and career.
Second to spit is Shad, who was still 10 years away from releasing his first album when the original “Father Time” dropped. Now a veteran in his own right, Shad’s lyrics take a step back from Toronto’s Hip-Hop culture and paint a bigger picture, with a more philosophical look at life itself and bars filled with poetic imagery.
Closing the track is New York’s own Pharoahe Monch, who was featured on the original 1999 album, on the song “Innovations.” Monch’s verse gets very vivid in detail, as he tells the tale of a time traveler who swaps places with Martin Luther King Jr. on the day of his assassination. This draws back to the song “Assassins” on Pharoahe Monch’s 2011 album, W.A.R. (We Are Renegades), where he portrays a character that “could move throughout space and time.” By the end of the song, the three MCs showcase their different approaches to the art-form of lyricism and the song’s concept, displaying artistry that can stand the test of time.
#BonusBeat: Along with “Father Time (2018 Version),” Saukrates has also released a bonus edition of The Underground Tapes with exclusive commentary. Clocking in at just over two hours and playing like a director’s cut, Saukrates goes through every song, including the new additions for the 2017 re-release, and gives fans a behind-the-scenes look at every track. Saukrates paints the picture of Toronto’s Hip-Hop scene in the mid-late ’90s, commenting on how college radio was the only airplay artists got back then. He opines on how vinyl was used to earn recognition while also acting as a form of quality control, and how the initial version of The Underground Tapes was pieced together with several recordings collected over five years.
Heads willing to sit through the extended listen will get juicy tidbits on how every song and collaboration came together. Being one of the Toronto’s first Hip-Hop artists to break internationally, Saukrates speaks on how he was able to get recognition from collaborators he looked up to like Masta Ace, O.C., and Redman.
He also includes tales on how he met Xzibit at a Big Pun concert and brought Common to Toronto to record with himself and Kardinal. He also speaks on how certain sounds and samples came together, such as the violins on “Fine Line,” and the vocal effect from recording through headphones on “Bag Da Biscuit (Ain’t Nuttin’ But A…),” which was inspired by KRS-One. Fans will get to hear how Soxx’ MCing and production on specific songs were inspired by certain artists such as The Notorious B.I.G., Busta Rhymes, and J Dilla, and how he used these influences to develop a skill set that has turned into a multi-decade career in the music industry.
Photographs by David Wallace and Mike Mangov.