The Verse’s Chanelle Manton tells us what she thinks of Fantastic Negrito’s latest album, The Last Days of Oakland.
How important is narrative when considering the success of an album, or even just enjoying the music itself? With Fantastic Negrito (otherwise known as Xavier Dphrepaulezz) latest work, The Last Days of Oakland, it is fundamental. The background with which this work was composed brings new layers of meaning to the music, taking the listener on a journey through Negrito’s early years as a struggling, self-taught musician and the troubles he became entrenched by, his disastrous record deal, a fatal car accident which left him temporarily comatose, all the way through to the birth of both his son and the rebirth of himself.
Categorised by iTunes as ‘rock’ music seems naïve, as The Last Days of Oakland seems to transcend just one genre. Negrito channels blues and jazz, meshed with poetic lyrics whilst simultaneously embodying his own African heritage. This raw, edgy combination creates an entirely unique sound experience, immersing the listener in his struggles and empowering us as we observe the ‘third comeback of his life’. Negrito bridges black roots music with contemporary sound by looping and sampling his own instruments, creating wholesome, immediate, and ‘real’ tracks. This album is sheer passion.
Made up of 15 songs, some of which explicitly named, The Last Days of Oakland begins with an intro, journeying through tracks such as Working Poor and Lost in a Crowd, and ending with The Shadows, a punch, energetic finale. In The Pines is also a timeless twist between folk and blues, with ‘relevance torn from today’s racial strife-ridden headlines’.
If you are looking to feel inspired, empowered, or need to escape from the terrifying world of politics and injustice, this artist is definitely one for you.
“When you listen to Negrito, you’re invited to hear the story of life after destruction. Your dream can die. You probably will give up. But from there, you can start everything over.”
The Last Days of Oakland will be reissued 28th July, with two new tracks. You can also catch him on tour in Europe and the US – tour dates here: http://www.fantasticnegrito.com/tour/
Intro – The Last Days of Oakland
Working Poor (explicit)
About A Bird
Interlude 1 – What Would You Do
The Nigga Song
In The Pines (Oakland)
Hump Thru The Winter
Lost In A Crowd
Interlude 2 – El Chileno
Nothing Without You
Images courtesy of Sonic PR