The time when he left high school in his teens and heard Drake’s album Thank Me Later was a pivotal moment for Santi. ”Hearing someone sing and rap confirmed to me I could do the same”, he told GQ. Santi, real name Osayaba Ize-Iyama but also known as Ozzy B, started singing professionally at the age of 16. His 2013 EP Birth of Santi pushed him to the forefront of the new generation of Nigerian music makers: ”Santi is a vision of Afropop’s future”, as The Fader put it.
Santi was born in London, has studied in Dubai, but calls Lagos his home. Rap may have been his first love, though eventually his taste broadened. Artists such as Vampire Weekend and Santigold were instrumental in showing him what to do with his own music. Mandy & The Jungle, his official debut album from this year which is ”about a girl who has no idea the power that lies inside her”, was recorded in Lagos with his Monster Boyz collective. i-D wrote about it: ”With his musical influences spanning everything from Afrobeat to 90s pop punk, this is an ode to what inspires him to create.”