Debut Full Length Album
The Last Days of Oakland out
June 3 via Blackball Universe
photo credit Robbie Welsh
“This soulful character won our hearts…with a passion that felt undeniable.”
“Fantastic Negrito has been simmering in Oakland for a couple of years, poised to break out.”
“…exceeds the hype”—Austin American-Statesman
“There is no bitterness in the way Dphrepaulezz tells his story; there’s nothing but celebration of a life, and the blues is his weapon of choice because he believes it is the music of truth.”
“He wrapped the crowd in an intimate embrace of delta blues, gospel rock and folklore...impressing everyone within earshot.”—San Francisco Weekly
“About a Bird,” the new single from critically acclaimed artist Fantastic Negrito’s highly anticipated debut full-length album The Last Days of Oakland (out June 3 via Blackball Universe), is premiering at Consequence of Sound. Of the track, frontman and songwriter Xavier Dphrepaulezz notes, “‘About a Bird’ is really a song about extreme narcissism, the danger of ego and self-importance. It is a song about mental illness as well. In the end, it is a desperate plea to be loved.” Listen at http://bit.ly/1rposx1 and share the track at https://youtu.be/Y1za8RHJ43E.
The band will also appear on Fox’s “Empire” on April 27, making their national television debut, with upcoming performances slated May 17 at The Viaduct underneath Buena Vista Bridge in Los Angeles plus BottleRock and Outside Lands Festivals this summer.
Known for his unique fusion of blues, soul, roots and rock music, on The Last Days of Oakland Dphrepaulezz tackles the socioeconomic, race and class issues he witnesses on a daily basis living in the East Bay. “Something has happened,” observes Dphrepaulezz. “We are in a new phase. An era has definitely ended and I can feel it in every major city I toured in the States. Black folks have moved out of the city in large numbers. The cities have become almost impossible to live in due to skyrocketing rent and high costs of living.” He also notes, “I feel the end of something always means the beginning of something new. I like my chances and I like yours in The Last Days of Oakland. It’s really up to us collectively if we choose.”
The winner of NPR’s inaugural Tiny Desk Concert Contest, Fantastic Negrito quickly won over critics with 2015’s self-titled EP. Consequence of Sound wrote of the record “Dphrepaulezz sings like a man compelled by a spiritual force…[his] voice is impassioned, somewhere between a croon and a scream,” and the Washington Post praised the EP’s “raw vocals and self-assessing lyrics.” The San Francisco Chronicle noted that “almost overnight, the singer-songwriter became an international sensation.”
Dphrepaulezz hailed from an orthodox Muslim household as a child. After relocating from rural Massachusetts to Oakland as a teenager in the 1980s, he quickly moved from strict religion to the music of Funkadelic; by the age of 20 he taught himself to play just about every instrument he came across, and in the `90s, he signed a multi-million dollar deal with Interscope Records performing under his first name Xavier. Dphrepaulezz’s life changed drastically when he was involved in a near death car accident resulting in a three-week coma, followed by intensive physical rehabilitation with his guitar playing hand permanently incapacitated. After a five-year hiatus, Dphrepaulezz created Fantastic Negrito. Inspired by all American music, most especially Delta bluesmen such as R.L Burnside and Skip James, he sought to modernize his compositions by sampling and looping his own live recordings. He told NPR that the name is “a celebration of blackness. The ‘Fantastic’ is self-explanatory; the ‘Negrito’ is a way to open blackness up to everyone, making it playful and international.”