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Review: Diplo/Santogold – Top Ranking (2008 ) August 3, 2008

Posted by ashiah in Music, Reviews.
Tags: , ,

Back when Santogold was just a rising artist with a popular Myspace page, everyone wanted to pigeonhole her as the new M.I.A. This was wrong for several reasons. One, it minimized Santogold’s true potential. And two, M.I.A. was a newbie herself and so the scene didn’t necessarily need “a new one.” But after the success of “Santogold,” a genre-bending punk/ska/hip-hop journey (nothing like M.I.A., by the way), I’m starting to wonder if the comparisons were fueled by the media or by Santogold and Diplo.

“Top Ranking” is clearly just another attempt at recapturing the brilliance of “Piracy Funds Terrorism,” the last Diplo mixtape made with M.I.A. But what’s so blindingly great about “Top Ranking” is it doesn’t even try to hide their motives. Yes, this is “Piracy Funds Terrorism” part two with a different, similar singer, but what’s so bad about that?

“Top Ranking” combs through a long list of artists from various genres — reggae, hip-hop, electro. Diplo brings his trademark unique spin on the tracks and even perfects a couple of Santogold’s original tracks, like “Creator” and “L.E.S. Artistes.” Unfortunately, the album can’t help getting a bit overindulgent in certain interludes that disrupt the flow of the album. There are two to be exact — an ’80s interlude with Devo, The B52s and a reggae interlude with Warrior Queen, Shinehead. But these don’t hinder the album, which quickly recovers from a so-so track with incredible ease.

But the moments that really shine are when Santogold is in the picture, but surprisingly, her presence isn’t as grounded as M.I.A.’s presence was on “Piracy Funds Terrorism.” But alas, here I am trying to compare the two again. But at least I know this isn’t my fault.

Santogold – I’m a Lady (Diplo mix featuring Amanda Blank)



1. Carolyn - August 4, 2008

Thanks for the great insight about the album! Also check out Santogold as last week’s Rock the Vote Featured Artist found here:


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