Bktherula was a different person before making Love Santana. So much so, that when she first started working on what would become the final project, she wasn’t even trying to make an album. Rather, she simply went to the studio everyday and crafted whatever came to mind.
By the end, she’d fallen in love with the format, embracing how many experiences she could bring together under one roof.
“I love the project, because it’s so much life being lived,” she says. “I think that’s the best thing for me. You have to live so much life and have all those moments, in order to go to the studio and make those songs. And then when you finally have it all done, you can just listen back and the playback is amazing. You can almost cry, it’s like, ‘I created this.’”
Bk made over 200 songs before she started to focus on the final product, and eventually trimmed it down to a concise 11 tracks. She vividly remembers the moment she realized the project was truly done, and the massive feeling of achievement that washed over her as soon as she pressed play. “I just felt something, like ‘holy shit, this is it,'” she said. “We don’t need to work on it anymore.’”
Above all else, though, Bk learned a powerful lesson about herself while making Love Santana.
“I really learned how powerful I was, and how I can really change the world,” she said. “I basically taught myself to never doubt myself, I can’t have fear. If I have doubt, I’m lowering my energy, and I won’t be as powerful.”
Confidence radiates from Bk as she speaks, whether over the phone or through the music. The second line on Love Santana’s first song “A Girl IS a GUN” announces her arrival as “It’s the ruler, Santana no other,” and she refuses to leave her throne for the rest of the project. On “Official,” she delivers a stream of hardly sequential boasts over dissonant keys that eternally creep louder, each bar running together like water from a faucet. like She shows a more melodic side on “UH HUH,” rapping “Out of all you niggas I think I like me the most” while backed by disorienting synths and twinkling bells.
“Forever” might be the strongest example of Bk’s irregular yet captivating method of storytelling. Here, she reflects on a failed love with one-liners that resemble a stream of consciousness more than a verse, while smothering ad-libs almost obscure the poetry as she realizes her forever has faded away.
While brainstorming what could have gone wrong, she suddenly veers to mention her jewelry and prowess, before admitting she’s just flexing to hide the pain as she sings “I keep a bad bitch in the kitchen, I keep a bad bitch on my arm / Tell the truth it’s just you that I want, hiding you with the shit that you flaunt.”
The album closes with “C4,” a song that opens with the pivotal question: “Why do you even like me for?” Although we don’t receive a direct answer, the rest of the song showcases all the elements that have endeared her to fans. She brings the off-kilter, eerily melodic flows during the hook, before building up to the most important line midway through the first verse: “Niggas steady plottin’, so I only trust my brother, I wouldn’t be livin’ if it wasn’t for my mother / If that nigga dissin’, we gon’ slide and let him suffer.”
Even though Bktherula has moved on from Love Santana with the recently released Nirvana, it’s had a long-lasting effect on the way she now approaches life. Not only has it racked up millions of Spotify streams and placed her on the map as a rising artist, but it paved the way for her spiritual awakening that has her striving to be a better version of herself every day.
“I had a spiritual awakening, and that was the moment I realized everything,” she said. “Beyond music, I realized things about life itself. Ever since then, I haven’t been the same. I’m improving, and I’m advancing beyond the third dimension.”
Stream Bktherula’s Nirvana below and follow her on Instagram @bktherula.