In 2008, Santi White was Santogold – a former A&R rep with an M.I.A.-esque shouting drawl for a singing voice. Her songwriting style was incomparably peculiar; blending electro-rock with reggae-fusion, dub, light hip-hop and even a little pre-grunge. Falling under the umbrella category of “alternative,” Santogold spent a few years touring with everyone from Coldplay to Kanye, accumulating mass quantities of critical acclaim, some mega-famous friends, and slowly carving her niche into something more broad.
Santi is back, carrying the personal “I” into her professional name – and it’s quite possible that Santigold is the embodiment of modern alternative. Her punk roots push through an ambrosia of electronica and island styles making Master of My Make-Believe one of the most eclectic records since…well…her first record. What’s really changed since Santogold is the world, which may finally be ready to put her through to the absolute mainstream.
The album is well-named, as Santigold is nothing if not imaginative and masterful. Opening track “GO!” (feat. Karen O) was pre-released last year, and commands immediate attention. She follows it up with the dreamy, yet inciting, “Disparate Youth” proclaiming “we know now we want more/a life worth fighting for.” Though packaged in subtle, often supremely mellowed-out grooves, much of the record’s lyrical content is revolution-speak, and seems to directly address today’s political climate.
Ms. White has said of this record “I want it to be about creating your own reality.” It shows. Santigold has earned a place among the stars, from where she may rally our culture to the cause of creativity, alterna-power, and joy.