Saucy Santana talks “Keep It Playa”, LGBTQ representation, and City Girls

There’s not much Saucy Santana can’t do. From viral videos to rapping, the Perry, Florida native is currently unstoppable. Santana got his start as a make-up artist for the hip-hop duo City Girls. Spawning a hilarious and very public relationship with the two, he began garnering viral attention for his shenanigans. The material gworl eventually began rapping in 2019, releasing his first smash single “Walk Em Like A Dog.” After a handful of projects, he has returned with his fifth EP Keep It Playa and a little more insight into his life as Saucy Santana. 

Keep It Playa, released back in December of last year, boasts 16 tracks and a handful of features, including Rubi Rose, Kali, Beat King, and the City Girls. Like any album, the order of tracks plays a huge role in an album’s purpose. “Wake Em Up” kicks off the album with a hip gyrating beat and subtle “Percolator” sample on repeat in the background. “I feel like to a lot of my fans and consumers, that I’ve made it. They see me doing a lot of big things, having a lot of big looks even with me still being an independent artist but there is still a lot of the world that I have to wake up”, he shares. Much like his opening track, everything about the album is created with intention — title included. “’Keep It Playa’ came at a time when I was dating a lot and just going through a lot of trial and error but you just gotta keep it playa. None of these n*ggas can f*ck with me and these haters can’t either. Nothing is going to stop me, so you always gotta keep sh*t playa.”

As an artist that has always been open about his sexuality, it can be difficult to find producers and artists that are willing to collaborate, sans the homophobia. While Santana continues to navigate an industry that is weighed down with the effects of homophobia, he has found a musical relationship with Tre Trax that has weathered prejudice. “I initially started working with Tre Trax in 2019 when I did ‘Material Girl.’ He delivered me the beat and we just started working,”  he reveals before sharing how their relationship began. “It was kind of weird af first, I don’t know you and you don’t know me. I’m already mean to straight men because they have their own thing against gays or that a gay man is going to make a pass at them but that’s not even my character.” Getting past those initial awkward moments, the two have found a chemistry that has led to not only some good music but a solid friendship. Since their start, Tre Trax continues to be the lead producer for Santana. 

Santana has one of those personalities that you can’t help but be drawn to, from his sassy colloquialisms to his comedic drawls with Caresha, but his unapologetic individuality stands out the most. There aren’t a lot of artists out here donning a full beard, acrylics, and some fly ass pumps but Santana is doing it, and doing it well. LGBTQ representation is slim in the industry but he continues to thrive and maintain relevance while dropping some noteworthy music. “It feels really good, it’s motivating, it helps me get up and go every day,” he responds with regards to his feelings as a successful representation of the LGBTQ community in the rap game. “Knowing that I’m actually making a difference by standing out and standing firm in my music, being unapologetically me, and the fact that it WORKS, makes me proud.” It’s refreshing to see an artist thriving in an industry that doesn’t leave much space for LGBTQ artists, especially when we’ve witnessed artists like ILOVEMAKONNEN get shut out of rooms for living in their truth. Fortunately, Santana is navigating his way through the bullshit. “I navigate homophobia by remaining firm in who I am, in what I want to rap about, and how I want to go about things. I have to because one thing about it, a hit is undeniable. So you can hate all you want or not agree with it, but the proof is in the pudding. Look at all my accolades, everything that I have done since I started,” he boasts. “I’m still independent, but it’s working for me because the music is undeniable, the talent is undeniable, the vibe is undeniable, the charm is undeniable, you can’t buy this at the store.” Go off then. 

At the start of his career, with the release of his debut single, he was considered just a “viral” artist with little substance. Prior to his success, he was signed for a one month deal with a label that expected him to flop but the unexpected success of his first single changed his life. The single garnered 1M streams within the first week of its release and would jumpstart his career as an artist. “I didn’t know I could rap until I got to the studio and did ‘Material Girl’. At the time, I was only signed to do ‘Walk Em Like A Dog’ and my label got behind me but didn’t think I was going to last. But when Tre and I got in the studio, my label was like ‘Oh baby, we need to sit back down and rethink this.’” After getting two hits under his belt, he debuted his first EP Imma Celebrity on January 14th, 2020. Since then, he’s gone on to drop Pretty Little Gangsta, It’s A Vibe, Outside, and his latest, Keep It Playa

Santana has made a true name for himself, but his relationship with the iconic City Girls has also played a pivotal role in his growth as an artist. From scamming to superstars, it’s hard not to be inspired by their hustle. “I’m inspired by them all the time. JT is the more serious of the two, more so, me and Miami are just always having fun. We have a genuine friendship,” he shares. Two very dynamic personalities, he leans on Miami for advice on relationships, family, and of course, boy drama, while JT provides insight on the music. A friendship built on love, the three have established a relationship that will stand the test of times. He also noted that he does not write for Caresha — sorry to break it to you. “I think it’s a big rumor that I write for the City Girls but no, I think because we’re so similar in our delivery that people think it’s me behind the pen.” 

Now that he’s getting comfortable, it’s time to wake some people up. You don’t have to do much to know who Saucy Santana is but he does have some recommendations for potential fans who haven’t heard his music before. Leaning on his second EP Pretty Little Gangsta, he landed on three tracks he would use to describe himself. “It’s so funny that you chose ‘Pretty Little Gangsta’ because the first song I thought of was ‘Try Your Luck,’ then ‘If It’s Up,’ ‘Gangsta Shit,’ oooo and ‘Maneater’,” he quickly reveals. Each track is packed with energetic, bold sounds, and spicy lyrics that showcase both his personality and lyrical agility. 

As he continues to create his own legacy, Saucy Santana has plans to do everything he can while he is here — with some discernment of course. “I think my personality sells itself and I’m going to succeed in whatever I do. I’m very particular in the things that I do and what I want to do, and how I want to be seen.” Well, whatever he decides, the sky’s the limit.

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