In conversation, Santa Salut radiates the ease and laidbackness that she sustains in her musical expression as well, despite the speed of her rhythms and lyrics. Her beats pick up themes of 2000s rap and Hip-Hop and add new elements to the familiar grooves. It is music to go wild and to get loud, but also to an expression of deeply personal emotions. Santa Salut started rapping at age sixteen, influenced by the music of Snoop Dog, Queen Latifah, the Lady of Rage, and Nelly Furtado. Although old-school rap is the genre that she makes music in, other forms of expression such as Jazz, RnB and classical music, continue to inspire her.

As Santa Salut grew up in Sabadell, Catalonia, the bilingualism of the region is reflected in her work. This bilingualism characterizes many regions in Spain such as the Basque Country or Galicia. The genius, grit and character of her rapping in Catalan, Spanish and English transmit to us, with all its lightness and flow, heavier subjects. Rapping about empowerment, affection and self-determination, Salut creates a sense of consciousness of one’s own feelings and role within society and art.

Multilingual Rap

In your lyrics, Spanish, Catalan, and English are not separated into different parts but coexist side by side. Why is multilingualism important to you?

“Well, in the end, it’s the reality that I live. I use Catalan as much as I use Spanish and I’ve liked languages and learning languages a lot since I was a child. People who are from Catalonia, the Basque Country, or Galicia have grown up with this bilingualism from a very young age, which is reflected in my work. I think that you can reach a higher level of rhyming and phonetic expression by not being reliant on only one language.”

Rap is a very language-heavy genre. Did your interest in multilingualism bring you to the genre?

“In the end, I think everyone is a different person and everyone’s attention is drawn to different subjects. Since I was a child in the early 2000s, I’ve always seen people in Sabadell wearing baggy clothes, playing loud music, and painting graffiti. Growing up, I listened to the radio and watched movies because it was not yet this era where you could find everything on the internet. I have always listened to many types of music, Rap, RnB, but also to classical music or jazz, almost everything. I remember listening to Lily Allen, and Nelly Furtado – it is not Rap, it was more mainstream music, but it had hints of Hip Hop. They had hints of Rap. They had roots there and that caught my attention.”

“I like to pay tribute to this movement [early 2000s Hip-Hop] that I like so much. It is still alive, not in the same way, but it is still alive and many of us live it. That is what inspires me, it is a part of me.”

Political Messages

Are political messages important to you in your songs?

“At the end of the day, we live in Spain which has a fascist past. There has always been this attempt to erase Catalan, Basque and Galician language and culture. Therefore yes, I do it for the language. It is my culture and the culture of my ancestors. I try to give visibility to these languages. On a revolutionary level, I talk about different issues, not just the problem of linguistic plurality. In my lyrics, I like to talk about what upsets me.”

Banco, gobierno, iglesia me acuchillan bajo Amnistía
¿Qué decía Notre Dame cuando ardía?
Nacimiento suicida, no dejo que el mal resida
Santa soy y de demonia voy vestida
salto sobre la autoestima 
gracies al rap cru
em tinc jo i aquí qui sobra ets tu
vaig vaig vaig cap amunt
Esto es pa que os quiteis la remera
En memoria a nuestras hermanas guerrilleras
Empieza una nueva era
Vinimos a formar la nueva escuela
(Ultra Three x Elane Meta, Sofia Gabanna)

How do you deal with the male-dominated Spanish rap scene?

“I have my female friends here who are also rappers. They make me feel very supported. Yes, it is true that it has a sexist history. When I started, we and I had to take a lot of initiative, but a lot of women have joined us now, which is truly amazing.”

Atenea and Empowerment

Santa Salut talks about conclusions she draws, the points one reaches in confrontation with one’s own feelings. She raps about falling out of love and coping with romantic setbacks. “To whoever has treated me badly”, the artist explains, “I am sending a message. I’m recomposing myself to let them know that I’m feeling amazing and that I’m empowered”. Alongside the expression of emotions, many songs are political. She raps about fighting fascism, sexism and chauvinism. Describing herself as combative and revindicating, Salut uses music as a tool to talk about “all the things that make [her] angry”.

“‘Atenea’ is all about empowerment. It is a broad approach to the obstacles that one encounters and about being at the limit, about finding a way to be able to cope with the interferences of life.”

You include figures from Greek mythology like Atena and Kronos. What significance does Greek mythology have for you?

“I’ve always loved Roman, Greek and Egyptian mythology. The way they’ve seen the world makes me very curious. They talk in such a unique way about their ideas and the meaning of existence. It breaks my head to think about how they lived thousands of years ago. Right now, in my room, I have a parchment with Egyptian drawings that my grandparents brought me from Egypt a few years ago. While looking at it, I feel so many strong and different emotions. I think it’s beautiful how they personify aspects of life that we have no control over like the weather, the sun, and the rain. I am fascinated by these mythological ideas and stories. Including these elements, is something unique to me. Ever since I started rapping, I’ve looked for mythological figures, lost cities, and other mysterious elements. I like drawing inspiration from there.”

A Mosaic of Influences

What else has influenced your music?

“If I was a film director, watching films would be what would enrich me. I think it’s very important if you make music that you listen to a lot of music, that you observe what others do, every detail. Since I started making music, I see music in a different way. I listen to music from a different point of view and I notice things that I did not before. This way I can have different influences reflected in my music like recording a rock ballad, but with rap.”

“My music reflects all the colours that I have inside me. I’m not only a rapper. I have a country and a rock side, and many others that maybe will be shown in songs and albums to come. In the end, I write in a therapeutic way. I like to think that we are all different but end up doing and feeling similar things. When I listen to a song that gives me intense emotions, it makes me feel like I’m experiencing it with someone else who is feeling the same and who is sharing this moment with me.”


Atenea (feat. Deps Music) is out now via Yuukii Music. See Santa Salut live in Berlin on June 16th