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.

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.

Santi (formerly Ozzy B)

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.

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.

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1 year ago

Real recognize real