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As a solo project with a revolving door of members, the heart and face of Santigold is vivacious frontwoman Santi White. White and John Hill, her former counterpart from ska-punk band Stiffed, use their common backgrounds as production-savvy musicians to make bombastic, bass-oriented songs that fuse punk, reggae, grime, and indie rock with electro. Tribal island rhythms merge with flavorful digital chirps and blips, culminating in an original sound that is comparable to M.I.A. but draws from too many other influences to be considered just another M.I.A. knockoff.
While showcasing her array of vocal styles at a Stiffed show, White was spotted by Martin Heath, who made her an offer to record a solo record on Lizard King, the label responsible for the successful promotion of the Killers. After failed attempts with a few mainstream pop producers, White and Hill(now calling the project Santogold) decided to pair up with a crew of like-minded musicians — includingFreq Nasty, Disco D, Switch, Spank Rock‘s Naeem, Xxxchange, Steel Pulse guitarist Clifford Moonie Pusey, and none other than M.I.A. herself.
In only three weeks, the full-length Creator was completed and scheduled for release in January of 2008, though it took until April for the album (retitled simply Santogold) to actually hit shelves. She spent time supporting headlining acts ranging from Coldplay to Jay-Z for the rest of the year. Then Whitedecided to change the name of the project to Santigold in early 2009 for reasons related to an impending lawsuit from wrestler and “personality” Santo Gold. Although a follow-up under the new name was not immediately forthcoming, she kept busy featuring on tracks by N.A.S.A. (The Spirit of Apollo), Beastie Boys (Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2), andthe Lonely Island (Turtleneck & Chain). She started recording solo again in January 2010. Once the dynamic sophomore follow-up was completed, the release date was delayed when she briefly joined and left Jay-Z‘s Roc-a-Fella Records, but eventually she signed with Atlantic Records, and Master of My Make-Believe was unveiled in April of 2012.