I’m here on the sideline rooting for all these amazing artists, but if I had to choose one team to cheer-lead for, it would be that of Charlotte rapper Jalen Santoy. I went through six Google SERPs, only to be left baffled upon finding out that merely a handful of online blogs have picked up on this rising star. Though his 2016 record “Foreplay” did reach Social Media viral status and a well-deserved six million streams. Jalen Santoy has the potential, the political views, and the lyrical talent to be up there with artists like J. Cole (though Santoy disagrees on sounding like Cole) and Joey Bada$$. Easily.
His seven-track EP “Charlie Eastern” is about the unpredictable struggles of life and the loss of his close cousin due to police brutality, as told to The FADER. It’s a solid, refined record with jazzy saxophone samples from Stanley Turrentine’s “Sunny”, the ESPN morning talk show First Take, and Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again”. All interspersed with catchy bass-lines, relaxed downtempo vibes, and at times conflicting, but always truthful lyrics. Each song is well thought through and graced with advice, such as on “Momma Loves Me”, where Santoy talks about the moment his mother accepted his music and told him that “You can never achieve something that you can’t articulate”.