Santi White or Santigold as she’s recently titled in the music industry is back with her long-awaited sophomore LP, Master of My Make-Believe. Possibly one of the coolest individuals known to dabble in music, Santigold just oozes an enchanting creativity and charm.
Four years since her eponymous first album featuring ground-breaking hits like Creator and L.E.S Artistes, fans are finally able to slip back into her dub-tronic oasis and the genre-defying glory of her sound. Industry friends such as Major Laser’s Switch and Diplo are on hand once more to represent her sound and co-produce some growling underground beats. Collaborations with Karen-O on the track GO! creates a racy, new wave, African tribal sound. Also enlisting the writing skills of A Tribe called Quest’s Q-Tip, adding further layers of reinforcement and diversity to her new album.
Interestingly, Santigold only began songwriting at twenty five years of age, which is good news for all of us late creative bloomers. Never too late to turn your hand to something. She worked as an A&R rep at Epic records for years and did some song-writing for pop queens like Lily Allen and Ashlee Simpson. Even did a stint as a front woman to Philadelphia punk band Stiffed before imparting upon her own solo path. She once revealed that the notion of her holding the ability to song-write and sing came to her in a dream one night. A calling we’re all grateful to her for following.
Santigold describes her musical purpose as to, “help break down boundaries and genre classifications”. She steers her musical ship towards new-wave punk, reggae, dance and dupstep, displaying a mesh of genres. In reflection, Santigold highlights her musical influences to stem as a child from her introduction to Afro-beat pioneer Fela Kuti and the late Aretha Franklin by her father.
Her first album will always remain in my personal favourites and the second one is gaining similar status for me. The originality and depth in sound left critics unable to pin her into any current genre. Music had been thirsting for someone to throw the female music world on it’s head. Lines of producers in the four years since her first production have weighed in to duplicate her innovative sound and style rendering her music to appear less fresh to newly exposed audiences. According to some critics her second album seems a little uninspired, overly-produced and too polished, a sell-out in comparison to her first release.
I disagree and hold Master of My Make Believe as an album to have something new I love about it each time I play it. Santigold is truly mastering her own lyrical fantasies with a slew of tracks representing an empowered woman, defying the stale and repressive conventions of the music world, “Leading with the heart. You know your battle from the start”. No one does a catchy, defiant hook or bad ass rap quite like Santigold.
I can’t stop listening to the reggae infused, ‘Pirate in the water’, the sardonic diss in ‘Look at these hoes’, the perpetual and empowering electro echoes in ‘God from the machine’ and the bombastic, ‘Freak like me’. Make up your own mind on whether you believe Santigold is the true master or not in this production.
Below a recent interview showcasing the down to earth and quirky thinkings of Santigold. Underneath again the BBC Radio One live version of her next single, ‘Keepers’.– Grace, Melbourne.