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  • Tristan Acker

DOSSIER - ITAL SANTOS / VILLAIN AKA MASON


Per Noa James, Ital Santos is the "young gato" of California's Inland Empire but he's also a veteran of the music community.

He has the wisdom to be skeptical of the wisdom of crowds and he has the wisdom to know that art is about choices. This new album Dossier continues his recent trend of enlisting Mason aka Villain for production of his entire albums. Santos is an accomplished producer in his own right but this is the direction he's chosen in recent years and I respect the earnestness with which he approaches his role in these projects.

Each of his new projects I hear the improvement in his MCing but in this one I hear him going after different rhythms and cadences intentionally. The intro "Prelude: Around Here" is a good exhibition of his confidence with expressing his sentiments while flowing well. His themes continue to fixate on people who sleep and hate as well as pursuing love and valuing the loyalty of family and real friends.


 The love songs are less cynical and I appreciate where that takes him musically like on songs like "Who's That/ Happy Ending" with VCD and the single "Shindig".

The other single, "No Aim" is a standout banger. George Burns and Kast One bring a steady supply of fire to their appearances on this record as well. My favorite may be "FTP / M.A.G.A." a mournful and cutting commentary on today's political events.

Ital's been stepping it up, listen in.

Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for Zus Entertainment, a Jooseboxx and Untapped Hip-Hop contributor, and member of the Inland Empire, California based nerdculture hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers

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