Cruel Santino taps Poco Lee on Show Me The Way
Osayaba Ize-Iyamu, professionally known as Cruel Santino, might seem like a strange name to the Nigerian music community. However, with the rise of the Alte music community – a confraternity of radical genre-benders – within the Nigerian music scene, like most of his co-pioneers, Cruel Santino has risen to prominence as one of the most respected acts of his generation.
With his previous albums such as 2016’s Suzie’s Funeral, 2019’s Mandy and the Jungle, and 2022’s Subaru Boys, among others, the 30-year-old singer, songwriter and producer, has significantly influenced the sonic shift within the Nigerian music scene. With his releases, Cruel Santino, also popularly called ‘Santi’, continues to appeal, most especially to the Gen-Z population, as a muse for the same radicalism and innovation that undergirds his discography, including his just-released Poco Lee-assisted song, Show Me The Way.
The ‘musical madman’, as this writer posits, tows a rather unusual trail to his sonic experiment on this new record. Santi, who is renowned for his synth-y alternative pop, rock, Hip-hop, and RnB fusions, explores the concept of Nigerian street-pop on this song.
Produced by his friend and frequent collaborator GMK (Deadman Bone, Pears and Mangoes, etc.), the record takes an artsy swipe on the fast-paced monotonic percussions that ensemble most 2010s street-pop. The song, itself, is essentially a feel-good community-type song that explores the usual youthful narratives of finding and losing love. Its brilliance, however, radiates mostly in the sonic engineering; the switch from Santi’s dreamy synth-y vocalisation to Poco Lee’s brief hype is smoothly transitioned and it adds to the vibrancy of the record.
Santino began his career in 2011, where he grew a fanbase on SoundCloud under the moniker Ozzy B, birthing mixtapes like Diaries of a Loner, and Birth of Santi. Later, in 2016, he morphed from Ozzy B to Santi (now he has transitioned to Cruel Santino over copyright issues), and put out Suzie’s Funeral, as well as his critically acclaimed Mandy and the Jungle.