Santogold

Santogold (Downtown)

Santogold hip-hop M.I.A.

Bhangra, calypso, reggae, dub, electropop, and hip-hop aren't just entries in The Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music; they're also the foundations of Santogold's debut album. The former-A&R-rep-turned-singer (born Santi White) gathers a mélange of genres and does a surprisingly solid job of shaping them into a cohesive and engaging record. From "Creator"'s M.I.A.-style caterwauls and chanting to the frantic, anthemic "You'll Find a Way," Santogold's tunes are intense and intricate — but maybe too much so. Even the toned-down cuts — like the '90s-rock ballad "Lights Out" and the bittersweet "I'm a Lady" — are heavy on complex countermelodies and overstuffed refrains. Great songs, solid lyrics, steady beats, but oof — it's a lot to handle in one sitting.

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