It Takes a Village to Make a Santigold Video

A cavalcade of influences conspire together to hoist Santigold’s freak flag high.

Take a probably-insane director’s visual aesthetic, two producers’ turbo-charged African techno, and mentor M.I.A.’s Kala-era vocal cadences, mix it all together and voila: an appropriation-art masterpiece.


In her first video in years, kitchen-sink artist Santigold surrounds herself with like-minded collaborators and ends up with a lively, fun mess. The video for “Big Mouth” doesn’t so much begin as it erupts out of a desert landscape, sweetened with animated quirks, such as squiggly dancing cacti and a sun with a clock face. Elsewhere, the least-enthused backup dancers in the world raise their arms like twin T-Rexes, and get bigger mouths animated over their actual mouths.

If it sounds like a lot to take in, it is.

The visual style of the video belongs to director Cody Critcheloe completely. Critcheloe is an art-damaged aesthete whose own band, SSION (pronounced “shun”—get it?), makes performance-based music in the vein of Fischerspooner. Some of the elements of “Big Mouth,” like that anthropomorphic sun, are also in the video for SSION’s “Ah Ma”:

As for the actual song, “Big Mouth” has two reliably funky producers working together to create a particular sonic alchemy. Buraka Som Sistema is a Portugal-based group that pairs tech-house beats with Angolan kuduro music, and here they collide with Switch, who produced several tracks on Santigold’s debut, and is one half of electro-dancehall duo, Major Lazer (this video, in fact, looks a hell of a lot like Major Lazer’s “Pon de Floor” clip). Although with so much going on, Santi herself seems to get reduced to a carnival barker role on her own track, the woman undeniably knows how to curate a carnival, and it was nice of her to invite us.

Bonus game: That sure looks like Lady Gaga being eaten by a tiger at 1:24–and did Santi just say “Gag-ga, all slightly off? Not me, I’ll take the loss…” Are we in the presence of beef?

“Oh, uh-uh. Gaga? Hell no.”

“Say hello to my li’l friend.”

“Mmm. Beefy.”

Germonatta dentata.