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Santi: Twitter users come for musician, but the criticisms of his art makes no sense

And here we are again on Twitter Nigeria, in the void of finding new topics to fuel our tendency to be easily outraged, we simply pick an old one but this time, weave our narrative around a different character.

Santi is getting attention on Twitter but not the type his art deserves [Instagram/Santi]

Sometime in November 2018, social media users drew swords following Odunsi's shared images of scenes from Santi's video shoot to his single, the bop heavy, 'Rapid Fire.'

The scenes which showed a number of acts associated with the 'Alte' scene gathered in a room barely lit by candle lights all dressed in black outfits generated controversy that swept from 'occultic gestures' to the outright bashing of what the aesthetics from the league of the Alte culture even represent.

Anyone who follows the Nigerian music scene will assert to the fact that this bunch of talents who have chosen to 'rebel' against the prevailing sound in their own way have been building quite a buzz and attracting major attention both locally and to an extent on the global stage in the last couple of years with two major characters, Odunsi and Santi spearheading the conversations.

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So while their art, sound, dress code or general idea may not go down well with a lot of people and while again, as I stated in this earlier article that nothing should elevate them from the lens of scrutiny when there is a need for it, we should, however, be careful not to see them as soft targets to transfer our personal and misinformed aggression on.

Criticisms are essential especially in an industry like ours but when it is unnecessarily vindictive, petty, personal or intentionally cruel, then it only fuels the purpose of crystallizing public attention and discussion rather than pushing actual growth and improvement.

A few days back, Pretty Boy D-O, a dancehall act and affiliate of the Alte movement shared a snippet of the visuals from his upcoming single, 'Pull Up', a song that features Santi and was on his 2018 released debut EP, ''Everything Pretty.''

So for context, 'Pull Up' in typical D-O style is an energetic song that casts him as a robust and aggressively battle ready individual as he tells the story of surviving in the hood while laying out a surge of implicit threats to anyone trying to distract him from making bread which is his only focus.

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''If you gonna shoot us, better make you kill us, cos all my man ready, all my man ready, and it can get messy, isht can get messy.''

Depending on your experiences and reality, these lines can be interpreted to mean several things, but it begs the bigger question, what is the best way to interpret a song with a message like this?

Some of the characters being created in these visuals are no different than some of the characters that we see in reality. 

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Why is Santi and not D-O, the owner of the song the one under attack in this instance? [A similar MO to the Odunsi criticism on a Santi owned record]

How are we reading so much meaning into a few seconds clip with no audio which fails to give context to the basis of whatever argument we may have? How many have actually even listened to the song to understand the nuances of its theme so as to interpret the clips better?

For those just getting introduced to his music or getting emotionally caught in the senseless debate of him being better than Peruzzi or not, [Where in the world did that even come from?]

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Santi isn’t merely another musician or a generous benefactor of the Alte hype, Santi is a damn good creative whose music and self directed visuals ultimately stands him out of any circle you try to fit him.

From his days as Ozzy B before metamorphosing into Santi, his music usually comes as passionate and provocative, inducing intoxicated conversations of the many clouded expressions in his art that peel off only after multiple listens and understanding his music as a whole and not in isolation. 

Santi has been around for quite a while starting out as an actor at a tender age before taking to music professionally aged 16. He released his debut mixtape in 2011 and followed it up with the ''Birth of Santi'' EP in 2013, and the ''Suzie's Funeral EP'' in 2016.

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Coupled with an amplified rawness of his fusion sound and love for old Nollywood concepts, Santi has been able to create a mystery around his character, one that is on one hand personal, hard to define and abstract leaving room for the varied and often careless interpretation.

However, the reality is that for art that is not easily understood, we look for scapegoats to explain our quandary and in the exact same form as Odunsi provided one barely four months ago, Santi is today's victim.

There is also the clear case of hypocrisy from those condemning the visuals or what they think it represents.

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How many of the more established stars are we holding to this same standard despite the constant display of fraternity alignment in a number of videos that we sing the loudest and celebrate today?

Or is this anger or degeneration only reserved for members of the 'Alte' community, who we feel are lesser powerful acts who do not exactly carry the same 'reprisal' threat as the others?

At the end though, everyone will be fine but these criticisms are based off actual convictions, then we need to keep this energy not just for a select few but for everyone, even if they are our favorites.

As for Santi, he is definitely on the right path with his career and as they say in this business, no publicity is bad publicity, so drop that fire album and enjoy the attention, even if this one comes unwarranted.

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