Is Santi Massively Underrated Or The Nigerian Audience Has Just Blinded Itself To His Brilliance?
When you stumble upon a talented artist, regardless of the kind of music they make, there’s no denying it. From a taste of their sound, you can testify that they’ve got the juice. And this juice you can’t help but crave it. Before any other person catches a whiff of the release of their new songs, you’re already relishing it in the corner of your room.
Santi is an early bloomer. His genius manifested at a young age as he began acting when he was 10. He started making music professionally at the age of 16. He is usually considered as one of the pioneers of Alte music. He released his first body of work Diaries of a Loner when he was 18. His name was Ozzy B back then.
In 2013, Santi released an EP Birth of Santi which contained 13 tracks. The EP was an official declaration of his rebranding from Ozzy B to Santi. Santi’s sound is unique - a fusion of Dancehall, Afrobeats, R&B, and mellow Hip-hop production.
Cruelsantino, as he sometimes refers to himself as, would later release an album Suzie’s Funeral in 2016 which contained hit songs like Gangsta Fear, Suzie, Steal A Dime, Horses, and more. On the album, he featured many new wave musicians including Odunsi The Engine, Bris B, Bridge, Tay Iwar, and others. With this project, he gained more prominence and many music lovers were fully introduced to his fascinating sound.
Drawing influences from a myriad of sounds across the globe, Santi is redefining what African music is.
He has recently released hit singles including Rapid Fire (featuring Shane Eagle and Amaaree), Freaky (featuring Bridge and Nonso Amadi), and Sparky. The songs were positively acclaimed and the music videos were considered to be very artsy.
Santi is not on the same level as many Nigerian artists. He’s a creative with a very distinct style and follows in a path that is novel and foreign to many people. His type of music does not appeal to a general audience which is basically the idea of being Alte.
One interesting thing to note is that Santi directs most of his music videos himself. His sense of creativity often yields unprecedented visuals and generally follows a 90s theme, showing youthful exuberance, freedom, and the gangster lifestyle of the Nigerian youth.
His sound and visuals have since stirred controversy on social media as many have questioned if it’s just aesthetics or Santi (alongside several Alte artists) belong to a particular cult. Others who do not really have an idea of his impact have termed him to be an upcoming artist while some even compared him to Peruzzi.
It’s my Santi you people are calling upcoming artist. Just imagine.
— Oga Livi (@OBI_NJ) March 22, 2019
Santi is a brilliant artist with an unorthodox sound. People are drawn to his music/videos due to their eccentricity. It's not the flood-video-with-semi-nude-vixens thing that's popular, and that alone is a bold step. Man's outside the box; don't compare him with someone in it.
— Nnamdi (@TheReclusifix) March 22, 2019
who is santi? a SoundCloud artist? or upcoming artist?
— Naza The General? (@TheNaza_) March 22, 2019
We learn everyday, so there's a Nigerian artist called Santi.
— Bature Brown (@VicendaPrintz) March 22, 2019
Like Davido said “Alté music is not for every one”. The fact that you don’t Understand Santi’s style of music is totally cool by me but please don’t throw shades because that guy is the most creative artist in Nigeria.
— UNDERRATED (@onlyjeffman) March 21, 2019
This Santi guy looks to me like he tries extremely hard to be outside the box. I just want someone to tell him for me that that's not the only way to be original. https://t.co/IIeB0jDxMa
— Thr (@FishBowlOfWine) March 21, 2019
Peruzzi is a nice artist and dope song writer but Santi been popping since 2015 pic.twitter.com/yAkOdELf4J
— Ayo Unruly ? (@The26er_) March 22, 2019
The peruzzi we know is better than the santi we don't know
You can't come on here and force your preference down the throat of others
An artist that is unheard of in most places
Music revolves around fame
And the fame around peruzzi increases his rating
— FELA GRANDSON? (@badboyjerrie) March 22, 2019
I see some Santi bashing on the timeline. This shows me that the boy is ahead of his time. He has the potential to be a great artist and visionary for his generation. I can't wait for his album to drop. I hope it comes with a short film too. Santi forever.
— Ayomide Tayo (@AOT2) March 22, 2019
I am going pretend people are NOT truly bashing Santi because he burnt tires in his music video.
I am also going to pretend ya'll are NOT comparing totally different artists, with totally different genres.
Because that would mean ya'll have truly MAD las las?
— Kamsy (@Thrillnonstop) March 22, 2019
The funniest thing is that Santi is better than most of your favorite artists in Nigeria.
All your favorite artists follow the same direction for Gods sake ?
— UNDERRATED (@onlyjeffman) March 21, 2019
Imagine having a problem with Santi burning tires in his videos but you don't bat an eyelid when foreign artists do it smh.
— O.T (@OTbabalola) March 21, 2019
I wish folks would talk about Santi who by the way is a great artist, rather than compare him to Perruzi or other people. Not everytime guys
— Billy Bigwig (@BillyDeBully) March 22, 2019
Santi has more of an international appeal that Peruzzi tho
— Ahmd (@deolaa_J) March 22, 2019
Man people don’t know smh. Santi (Ozzy B) went from being an incredible underground rapper (DOAL series) to an internationally recognized artist. People are ignorant and uninformed. Ignorant an uniformed.
— ????? (@TobiAmoda) March 22, 2019
pon pon music lovers have come with their trash opinions again. Santi is at least 400 times the artist Peruzzi is. Just bc the drums in his beats aren't banging doesn't mean it's trash.
hope this helps
— noël (@kodeine_papi) March 22, 2019
are you lot dumb? peruzzi is davido’s puppy and technically everything he’s sang so far hasn’t beat the quality of “for your pocket”. santi on the other hand, is a king who does his own thing and gives us variety with his sound. shut up if you don’t know good music pls. https://t.co/p3UnCp5zuQ
— rebel. (@niiniola) March 22, 2019
When it comes to creativity, there are no boundaries. No limits. No rules. An artist expresses himself the best way he or she knows how to. Santi, being an Alte artist, expresses himself in a way that many artists cannot. This makes it difficult for many Nigerian music lovers to relate to his sound and visuals.
Santi refuses to conform neither does he attempt to adapt his sound so as to go mainstream.
As much as he does not seem to be well-appreciated here in this part of the world, Santi gets international media coverage. He has been featured by top music magazines and websites including The Fader, Djbooth, OkayAfrica, and others. He is highly regarded as one of the few Nigerian acts who is changing the narrative of the African sound.
Nigerian Alté musician, Santi's songs get regular rotation on Apple Music's Beats 1, Drake's OVO Sound radio and Hot97 FM. His songs are also covered by The Fader and Complex Magazine.
His song, Freaky was premiered on The Fader.
He has also been featured on i-D Magazine. pic.twitter.com/fVsYcmAEv8
— Africa Facts Zone (@AfricaFactsZone) March 22, 2019
It cannot simply be said that Santi is underrated because the word ‘underrated’ has been heavily misused, but it’s pointedly accurate that Santi is underappreciated. The Nigerian audience seems to misunderstand his music, style, and his visuals especially. Santi is a musical enigma who is greatly talented and is pushing the alternative scene to elevated heights. He needs to be protected at all costs.