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Rap Blog: Cruel Santino brings the bounce to the dancefloor

Cruel Santino. Photo via publicist.


Rap Blog is a weekly showcase of a standout rap song written by Vivian Medithi and Nadine Smith.

With the volume turned up loud enough, the kick drum on Cruel Santino’s modestly-titled “The Vatican: Superb Artistry” begins to palpitate like your heartbeat in your ears, the kind of insistent thump that forces even the least rhythmic among us to tap their feet. It’s an appetizer from his next tape, Kings of the Bounce: “No fillers. Just bounces & bangers,” Santino announced on Instagram.

Santino’s flow, “a blend of pidgin-English and patois,” zooms alongside the kick, neatly keeping pace. His omnivorous strain of Afrofusion never fails to bend his collaborators into more pleasing forms. SoCal singer Slater’s mildly nasal verse invokes the brattiness of pop punk minus the grating self-pity — “I’m sorry Mom I swear I’ve changed/the things I’m going through is just a phase.” Nigeria-via-London collaborator L0LA’s gentle harmonies seep into the crevices of Tyler Turner’s delicate piano chords like fog hanging thick in the club, a soft haze clouding the senses so you can really feel the 808s.