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The 50 Best Albums of 2012

22. Santigold, Master of My Make-Believe

Label: Roc Nation, Downtown, Atlantic UK
Released: April 24

If anybody was stressing the possbility of a sophomore slump, it would have to be Santi White, whose seminal 2008 debut came out of nowhere to become a critical and fan favorite. She took her sweet time with the follow-up—four years to be exact—but the wait was well worth it. These 11 impeccable tracks have only gotten better with age.

Santi has this uncanny way of sounding like a rapper, a punk rocker, a dub poet, and that smart-mouthed girl on the playground all at once. And while the musical backdrops sound like the coolest party ever, she manages to slip in sly social commentary without sounding like she's got a big mouth: "We're the keepers, while we sleep in America/Our house is burning down."

If for some reason, you've slept on this essential release, then go ahead and wake up. One listen should make a believer out of you. -RK

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