Sainté – Still Local 

A punchy mixtape from the Leicester rapper...

The anticipated 14-track debut mixtape ‘Still Local’ from Leicester way rapper Sainté has finally landed, following honourable reception of DIY EPs ‘Vacation’, ‘Out the Blue’, and ‘Local MVP’. A project with the intention of reminding listeners at heart, he is still local, studded with collaborations from the likes of Potter Payper, Lil Silva and US natives Draft Day and Chow Lee. 

In ‘They’ll See’, ‘Y2K’, and ‘Route 64’, Sainté is unwavering in his nonchalant flow, delivered with ease over stripped-back, jazz-esque productions with a light and nostalgic feel – the sound that’s brought the rapper to acclaim. There’s an air of maturity to them, a tranquillity that sits in stark contrast to the often gritty and heavier sounds of UK rap. 

‘Stop Crying’ switches the vibe up with its duality, where he lays down the law before switching up to a bouncy old-school hip-hop feel. Sainté’s artistic evolution is captured within the cross-the-pond collaboration with NY’s drill pioneer Chow Lee, ‘Fancy’ sees him charting new territory, spitting over a choppy, teasing Jersey beat. 

Safe feat. Lil Silva adds another dimension with its dreamlike haziness and enchanting feel set against a distorted electronic backdrop, which also traverse ‘Alone’ feat. Beattie and ‘Love Is Deep’. ‘Milwaukee’ is the perfect demonstration of Sainté’s ability to fuse old soul and futuristic elements with precision so they cohesively work in tandem to realise an evolved form. 

Lyrically Sainté is consistent, exploring themes of growth, love and the chase for success, but could at times delve deeper. Y2K gives us a glimpse of the wordsmith’s inner musings, “I’m still looking for the woman I love / I need someone to show permanent love / until then I ain’t opening up / I just wanna get this cash / Can’t live slow gotta get rich fast’. And in Alone, a grounding track where he contemplates, “I can’t decide if I like being alone cos I can’t live this life I live alone.” 

The mixtape concludes with ‘G’s Reign’ which enlists elite novelist Potter Payper to present an articulate and raw number with no distractions, neatly tying up the mixtape with final ruminations – “What’s a man without a purpose / Can’t be angry at the clowns when you’re the one who’s at the circus.”

‘Still Local’ is a multi-faceted project that delivers Sainté’s signature sound and flow, with flecks of experimentation that tease different sides of his artistry, keeping the listener on their toes. The attention paid to his productions is notable; its unique musicality and clever layering is much welcomed and in the bigger picture, serves to broaden the sound of UK rap. 

The refined and easy-listening mixtape cements Sainté as a notable new gen player in rap, and a necessary puzzle piece of the commanding team of UK artists committed to diversifying UK rap and steering a new sound. Delivering more of what his day one fans love whilst simultaneously refusing to be boxed into a niche, this solid debut leaves you feeling like there’s a lot more to come from the burgeoning artist. 

7/10

Words: Jessica Rogers

Related: Next Wave #1052: Sainté

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