Artist of the Month: Don Santo the Badman Killa
Alpha is the first letter in the Greek alphabet, its privileged position lending itself as a metaphor for primacy or superiority since at least the 1300s in English. Historians and scholars concur that it was first used in 1304. A year that coincides with #1304Day or the World Klassik Day on April 13. 1304 is also the day and time Don Santo was born over 30 years ago.
By the 1870s, scientists were using the term alpha male to refer to the most dominant male animal in a group—like an alpha wolf, who achieves top-dog status through aggressive behavior. By the 1970s, scientists extended alpha to human behavior, describing men who, through various forms of social power, acquire wealth, prestige, sexual partners, and other resources valued by their peers.
The alpha male is that type: admired in the suave cool of James Bond, parodied in the manic Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) in the 2000 film American Psycho, feared in Daniel Day Lewis as Daniel Plainview in the 2007 There Will Be Blood, far-too-fawned-over in Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden in the 1999 bro-classic Fight Club, and loved-and-hated in John Hamm’s Don Draper from the Mad Men TV series in the 2000s.
By the 2010s, the sense of alpha showed some narrowing on the internet, shifting from a male who achieved success and status in general to a male who could easily get a lot of girls in bed or who liked sports and was bro-ish.
"When I was a kid, I would attend a Sunday school service and end up teaching other kids a new song and lead praise & worship during the main service. this went on until when my family moved from Busia to Kisumu, then it got worse." says the Don.
When I was in class three, I was already an active evangelist and a praise and worship leader. I was selected to be the lead singer in a school folk song and a set-piece during that year's music festival. By the time I was in class six, I was already appointed the school's spiritual leader and in standard seven I was made the head boy after the incumbent was expelled for misbehavior. " He adds.
Santo admits that this is not always a good thing as it forced him to hide from the crowd when he didn't need the attention.
"I also got the most beatings at home on behalf of my siblings." adds the ever jovial Don who is a believer of Klassikanity.
We went on to inquire why he chose to name his first studio album, Alpha that is described as the Royal genesis.
"As a teenager, we had this thing with my friends about how many girls we would lay. Most of my friends like Evans Murakayo, Teddy Nyongesa, and Jackson Gwayi were known to have a lot of girls around them. They would come with a list of two to three different girls every week.
I found this to be ridiculous because I don't fancy meaningless relationships. I also do not compete for competition's sake. By January 2012, I had slept with a total of 1000 girls then I stopped counting. I never found any kind of satisfaction from all these. But I did it anyway. So I named my first album Alpha which I released on April 13 of the same year. It was my birthday gift for beating all my friends in that game for life. Hehehe." Jokes Don Santo.
Ironically he sings about true love and the need to respect women and the institution of marriage.
"That experience taught me that all these things and hullabaloos are just but vanities of life. If you want anything meaningful, you gotta earn it." He says.
Alpha is a 10-track Kalpop album under the Klassik Nation record label which features artists from Tanzania and Kenya. It has both gospel and love songs.
Thamini is a Swahili song that talks about why we should love and cherish what we've got while it still there, for when it is gone, it will be gone forever. He sings about parent-children relationships; employer-employee relationships and the importance of utilising one's wealth wisely.
Chochote Nitatenda is a Swahili word for "I will do anything for you." This is a love song for a beautiful woman Santo is in love with. He sings his heart out promising to do whatever it takes for her to be his.
Compe is a Sheng slang for competition. The chorus goes, "Compe compe Oh; I don't give a damn who is your man. Compe compe Oh; I don't care who is with you tonight." Straight forward right? That is Santo for you. He recorded this single at Grandpa Records featuring the beautiful songtress Libby. She is a nominated member of Kakamega COunty Assembly now.
Forgotten Clay is the fourth song of the Alpha album. This is an R&B HipHop song about a woman he married for 18 years and had 7 children together. He did everything for her, bought her expensive things, been there for her but in the end, she was ungrateful. So he tells her, "You can go." Halleluya is a gospel song done in Kalpop Zouk style. Santo is thanking God for all that HE has done for him. He sings,
"I never knew how amazing your word is
Not until you put that in me
I never imagined how beautiful your creation could be
Not until I went out on a cruise"
Did I mention he is a brilliant songwriter? Yes he is a genius. Simple and melodious.
LGBTQ equation has always been a tricky topic in these parts of the Sahara. Migingo is Rumba song he did back in 2009 about God's intention for family and he dresses men who prey over fellow men telling them he does not have Migingo. Migingo is an island in Nyanza which Uganda has occupied by military force. Can't Let You Go is a declaration of love. He promises his lover that he cannot let her go no matter what. My Guitar is a bongo fleva fused with afrodancehall. The single is a timeless love song with a happy vibe to it. He asks a girl if she would be his guitar so he can play with her body forever. Don Santo might have a strong personality but he can really apologise. If you listen to Please Forgive Me, a song he featured a Tanzanian singer Feel Jah Osmanis a good example.
"Three words are very important in a relationship;
I love you
I forgive you" Say the Badman Killa.
Sexy Lady is a zouk song that hit the number one spot on Top 8 kabisa chart on Ghetto Radio, 3 weeks in a row. Produced by Jilly Beatz, Sexy Lady is a timeless masterpiece. When I first listed to She`s On Fire on Kiss Tv's Top 20, I knew Kenyan music was reborn and reenergised. A dancehall hit song that took Kenyan airwaves like thunderstorm during Summer. He featured Jilly Beatz and what a blend that was.