On Thursday night in New York City, the rapper Saucy Santana’s hotel room looked like a fashion bomb had exploded. Fur coats and cropped jackets in sky blue, traffic cone orange, and jet black were strewn all over a couch blanketed in tops, dresses, and turtleneck bodysuits; a pleather leopard print trench, Balenciaga coat, and piles of multicolored feathers peeked out from a metal rack that had been wheeled into the suite. Platform Converse sneakers and Ziggy Stardust-esque chunky boots were lined up on the ground, right below a table covered with mini handbags and pieces of jewelry. From the adjacent bedroom, Saucy Santana’s voice—one that has been heard by millions on his viral track “Material Girl”—comes floating into the living room, which has now been converted into a walk-in closet: “Nothing is gonna fit over this shape!”
Santana, who’d come to town for New York Fashion Week, was flying through a series of prospective outfits he considered wearing to the designer Tia Adeola’s after party, following her runway show that night. (He ended up spending the evening at Short Stories bar in lower Manhattan, dancing with Flo Milli, who closed Tia Adeola’s runway show in a tan cutout look adorned with ruffles). In the running: a floor-length patterned and embroidered coat, an all-black look with a Pretty Little Thing bodysuit and what Santana referred to lovingly as his “Kanye West Balenciaga boots,” and an outfit that involved pink crushed velvet pants. Every piece of clothing came with a reference: a blue jacket paired with heart-shaped hoops was “giving Saweetie,” a feathered coat exuded “Patti LaBelle,” and a particularly presidential look was “Michelle Obama.” Santana’s stylist, Sequine Lee, chose a metallic Luar bag and brought it to him. “The girls are pumping this bag, heavy,” Santana said. “She is the bag to have.”
The Atlanta-based rapper ultimately settled upon the look that was “very much giving Charlie’s Angels”—a black catsuit with a cap inspired by the black pillbox hat that Cardi B wore in her music video for “Up,” along with a Brandon Blackwood bag. The designer, Santana notes, has been worn by his musical collaborator, one-half of the City Girls, JT. “You gotta be one of the girls to wear Brandon Blackwood,” he says.
Being “one of the girls” has become a bona-fide lifestyle, one that Santana single-handedly launched through his songs and social media presence. For his combined following of 3 million followers on TikTok and Instagram, Santana documents what it means to be a material girl—or material gworl, as the fans pronounce it—daily. “Being a material girl is just a lavish lifestyle and being a boss, basically,” Santana explained while sitting on the couch (after moving a few coats out of the way). “Material girl’s just being a bad bitch. We all like nice things, designer things, material things—especially if a man buys it. It’s also handling your business, and I’m in New York doing that. Network to net worth.”
Santana, who attended the Diesel SoHo store opening on February 11, said he was in the bad bitch mind-set while working on his latest project, an album called Keep It Playa that dropped in December. The artist will take that record on tour with the rapper Latto beginning in March, when he plans to partake in plenty of “booty shorts, Air Force Ones, and crowd surfing,” he said.
“Material Girl” is a movement on TikTok in its own right; millions of people have taken the sound and applied it to their own personal videos—including Lizzo, who Santana said made his favorite “Material Girl” video he’d seen thus far. But another Santana sound that’s gone viral features his song “Get TF Out My Face”—in his own video corresponding to the track, a clip depicts Santana buying a Fendi purse. The camera zooms in on the price tag while the lyrics “pull up, fuck it, Fendi,” play in the background.
“I was at the Saks in Phipps Plaza in Atlanta,” Santana tells me before ticking off the mall’s layout, listing each store exactly in order as it would appear on a map. “Dior, Louis Vuitton, YSL, Valentino, then Fendi and Givenchy. I go every day.”