Carlos Santana told Mojo magazine November 2008 that he felt that this was his first recording when he was truly able to express himself. He explained: "I remember being alone one evening- until then when I heard my records it was like seeing myself in the mirror and there was no me there, only a lot of other guitarists' faces: B.B., George Benson, Peter Green.
That evening I heard Samba Pa Ti on the radio and I looked in the mirror and it was my face, my tone, my fingerprints, my identity, my uniqueness. Because when I recorded it I was thinking of nothing, it was just pure feeling. I have a suspicion it came from stuff bottled up inside me, that I didn't know how to express or articulate. I get angry because, 'Why can't I say what I really mean?' Then Samba Pa To comes out of me. And everybody understands it."