There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it—Saucy Santana is one of this year’s biggest rap sensations. Through his catchy music, flamboyant style, and online gimmicks, the 28-year-old rapper has established himself as a rising star. And with hit songs like “Walk,” “Booty,” and “Material Girl”—a single he went on to remix in collaboration with Madonna this summer—he’s carving out his own niche.
Santana, who identifies as gay, is a rarity in the hip-hop world. “Sometimes people look at gay as supposed to be this, or supposed to be that,” he tells TIME. “When it’s so many different types of gay. It’s so many different looks to being gay.” Through his success he has become a prominent voice in the LGBTQ+ community, becoming one of the faces of Coach’s annual PRIDE campaign, and landing Teen Vogue and PAPER magazine covers in June.
“I’m proud to be iconic to people, or to be making history to people or people seeing me as a future icon or future legend,” he says. “Because I’m opening a door for my community.” With the release of his latest single “I’m Too Much” and performances at the 2022 BET and Video Music Awards earlier this year, Saucy Santana has no plans to slow down anytime soon. The rap star is currently on tour with Lizzo and is expected to release more music later this year—including a highly anticipated collaboration with Lil Nas X called “Down Souf Hoes.”
In the video above, the rapper and Internet sensation speaks with TIME about his music and momentum for LGBT History Month.
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Write to Jenna Caldwell at firstname.lastname@example.org