Line Out Music & Nightlife


News & Arts

« Tonight in Music: Skream | Jeff Hanson - "If Only I Knew" »

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

If You Dismiss Santogold as an M.I.A. Knockoff, You’re a Deaf Racist

posted by on August 6 at 12:03 PM


Subject-line supporting fact #1: While Santogold definitely has a few M.I.A.-esque elements—the percussive synth-buzz beat and rap-chant brags of “bringing the explosion” on “Creator,” the percussive synth-buzz beat and “eh eh eh AY!” exclamations on “Unstoppable”—such ostentatiously common ground is essentially restricted to these two tracks. (And what—only one brown woman’s allowed to appropriate war lingo over clangy synth-beats? During a time of war?)

Everywhere else on Santogold, she’s off on her own trip, through some incredibly attractive terrain that’s much more Siouxsie-and-Shakira-molest-Missing Persons than M.I.A. The result is a fucking great record that I’ve been playing three or four times a day for the past week. (The last record in my life to hold up to this kind of intense prolonged exposure: Kala. Make of that what you will, but don’t get stupid about it.)

Subject-line supporting fact #2: If Santogold looked like this, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Which brings up the ickiest element of the Santogold backlash—the sense that people are rushing to dismiss her out of something worse than laziness. “Didn’t we pay attention to a stylishly confrontational brown woman last year?” seems to be the subtext of the anti-Santogold hipster whine. Fuck that shit. If you enjoy listening to music, you should hear Santogold.

RSS icon Comments


"Starstruck" blows my fucking mind every damn time. Not to mention that it's hard to go a single day without singing to myself "My name is Anne, I got a plan..."

Ignore/Fuck the haters. The album is definitely one of the best in the past year...maybe even (dare I say) in the past decade...

Posted by Amnesiac79 | August 6, 2008 12:18 PM

Also, people who don't like jazz are racists.

Posted by flamingbanjo | August 6, 2008 12:18 PM

I too have fallen into the MIA/Santogold comparison trap (racist!). But, to be fair, it's also deeper than just clingy clangy synth beats. It's also the visual/fashion aesthetic—not simply her skin color— the fact that she works with the two of the same big-name producers (Diplo and Switch), and that MIA and Santogold are in fact contemporaries and collaborators.

Posted by Eric Grandy | August 6, 2008 12:31 PM

3: Great, yes, true. My bitchiness is reserved for those who use the M.I.A. connection as grounds for dismissal, instead of comparison/discussion.

Posted by David Schmader | August 6, 2008 12:39 PM


Like that?

Posted by Eric Grandy | August 6, 2008 12:41 PM


Posted by David Schmader | August 6, 2008 12:44 PM

wasn't everyone referring to santogold as m.i.a.'s protege six months ago?

i can't speak for racist hipster blogs, but the problem i have with santogold's album is it wasn't what i expected and it's not music i particularly care for. 'creator' was a massive single, i probably logged a solid hour of listening to that in the past year. 'creator' was like rock candy so i thought the rest of the album was going to be much of the same with the flurry of singles, remixes, producers signed on, hype - but it's like a lollipop with a beef bouillon cube in the center. if you like beef bouillon, that's cool - i don't. to me, 'santogold' is a non-exceptional indie rock album with a bunch of bleeps and bloops over top of it, bookended by two fantastic singles. it didn't satisfy my sweet tooth.

Posted by cosby | August 6, 2008 1:29 PM

Amen (to the post). Though, in all honesty, you probably should've been listening to this three months ago. Just sayin'.

Posted by LB | August 6, 2008 1:44 PM

8: Yeah, I have erratic listen habits. Three months ago I was listening to nothing but Steely Dan, while Santogold simmered in my iPod.

Posted by David Schmader | August 6, 2008 1:54 PM

I thought it had been settled that Santogold was a Tegan & Sara knockoff (but with beatz!!!).

Posted by paulus | August 6, 2008 1:59 PM

10: That seems fair (though I've never liked a Tegan & Sara album all the way through, and I've tried.)

Posted by David Schmader | August 6, 2008 2:30 PM

thank you for putting this out there. i've made the same argument but people just accuse me of being a bitchy feminist. such criticism has to come from the mouths of dudes sometimes to be taken seriously. room for both!

Posted by agreed | August 7, 2008 2:23 AM

funny. first time i heard santogold, i was hanging out in a coffee shop. i had never heard it before and i asked the barista, "what is this, M.I.A.'s little sister?" i keep my ear to the ground and i'd never seen her before, which makes it impossible for me to be a racist. so fuck off.

Posted by fuck off | August 7, 2008 3:17 AM

Seeing her at SXSW i was on the fence. I liked it, but couldn't get away from thinking she was just like MIA since she rad back up dancers and Diplo mixing the beats. she seemed a little whinnie live, but maybe i was a little too tipsy to be so critical. I did BUY her album last week and haven't stopped listening to it since.

Posted by maybe i was drunk | August 7, 2008 1:02 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).