I finally met this guy last week, he was DJ'ing at a club near my house and he did an impressive job, he was really cool and all, and gave me a free CD, so I'll try to be kind.
Santero is a Guatemalan DJ/MC who lives in the Bay Area but seems to be deep into Afrocuban religion, or Santería. Hence, it's hard for me to relate to what the fuck he's talking about because I happen to consider any type of religious belief or spirituality to be absolute bullshit. There, I said it.
However, I did listen to his whole debut album twice and it's definitely not bad. And I don't mean it in the sense of "it's not bad... if you are into this type of shit". I mean it in the sense of "it's not bad because it's actually good," regardless of what you are into. It has some amazing Latin beats, lots good percussion, very sampler-friendly original breaks (there're also some hip-hop and reggaetón beats but not as remarkable as the cumbia and latin-fusion counterparts). You can definitely tell there's a DJ's brain behind it and I like that.
So just for those beats (which I'll be mixing soon), the CD is worth checking out, nevertheless it'd be so much better if it was available on vinyl 12'' with the instrumental tracks. The vocals... well, I can't get pass the fact that he basically talks for 11 songs almost exclusively about ancient gods and folk traditions of the African slaves brought to the Caribbean. I know some sandal-wearing new-age freaks in Berkeley probably swallow all that crap and they somehow manage to find it "progressive," but honestly, for me, there's not too much of a difference between that and Christian music, which I consistently bash on this blog.
Fortunately for my buddy Santero, most people don't pay too much attention to the lyrics and if they like the beat they'll dance to it regardless. Unfortunately for all of us, most of those people don't read music reviews on blogs, they just listen to whatever the radio plays.