Last updated: 05/27/2012 11:00:00 AM
Santogold attended Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and then went to college at Wesleyan University, where she studied Caribbean and West African drumming. The artist got her pseudonym in the 1980s from a friend's nickname for her. She worked for Epic Records as an A&R representative, but left the position to write and produce How I Do, the debut album from R&B singer Res. In 2003, her father, a lawyer involved in a Philadelphia municipal government corruption case, died.
Santogold was lead singer of the Philadelphia-based punk rock/ska band Stiffed, whose 2003 EP, Sex Sells, was produced by Bad Brains member Daryl Jenifer. While in this group, she was offered a solo contract by Martin Heath of Marrakesh Records. Her initial singles succeeded based on heavy attention from Internet media. White also appeared on Mark Ronson's 2007 album Version, performing on a cover of The Jam's "Pretty Green".