The Last Days of Oakland, the highly anticipated first full-length album from critically acclaimed artist Fantastic Negrito, is out June 17th on Blackball Universe. Known for his unique fusion of blues, soul, roots and rock music, on The Last Days of Oakland frontman and songwriter Xavier Dphrepaulezz tackles the socioeconomic, race and class issues he witnesses on a daily basis living in the East Bay.
Xavier's raspy lyrics on "About A Bird" slice sharply through the vacuum between sorrow and sufferance. The guitar riffs and backing instrumental do well to accentuate the anxiousness caused by the blues. The song manages to never feel as if it's pressing to be hyper-bluesy -- you can't fake the blues. It's an exciting listen from a talent who has lived many lives and knows all too well how to feel. Listen above.
Fresh from an extensive UK live jaunt that saw him support one of the great rock voices of the past 25 years - Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, Audioslave and ‘Casino Royale’ Bond theme - Xavier has had an amazing 18 months. In early 2015 he was still busking on the Oakland streets where he grew up (as did Seasick Steve). His rise began when he won the 2015 Tiny Desk video contest run by NPR – the American equivalent of BBC Radio – ahead of 7000 other entries, with the clip below.
Since then he has played campaign rallies for Bernie Sanders; recorded with Blackalicious, and is about to appear in Fox's acclaimed hip-hop soap opera 'Empire' (May 9th, UK broadcast date on E4). While drama series 'Hand Of God' which features his song An Honest Man as its theme tune, returns to TV this autumn.
His story is an enthralling one. He ran with Oakland gangs in his teens, but cleaned up, was signed to Prince's management in the early 90s and had an album on Interscope as Xavier. In 1999, he suffered a car crash which resulted in a fractured skull, shattered limbs, and a 3-week coma. After a slow recovery, he went through several musical alter egos – including punk band Blood Sugar X – before walking away from the industry for five years, only to regenerate as Fantastic Negrito in his late forties. He has been described as the patron saint of second chances.
For more information please visit: www.fantasticnegrito.com