Best Brooklyn Firebrand (2008)

Santogold

The eclectic style . . . the fashionista street cred . . . the flair for marketing . . . the Diplo mixtape . . . you cant rightly blame those who tag Santogold as the second coming of M.I.A.: sonically adventurous, sociologically fascinating, critically beloved. But both on record (the full-length Santogold emerged in the spring) and onstage (her rampant enthusiasm and cool-kid choreography won over a slow-roasting crowd during a blazing-hot Central Park Summerstage extravaganza), Brooklyns newest multimedia siren is actually a worthy heir to Gwen Stefanis throne, as willing and able to woo Converses demographic as she is Pitchforks. She juggles genres brazenly, but her dominant strain might actually be ska-punk, jaunty and upbeat and defiant and infectious. Shortly after her Central Park triumph, she opened a string of dates for Coldplay, who certainly understand the benefit of associating with someone cooler than them, and did well in picking someone very possibly cooler than us all. Rad album cover, too.

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