fantastic negrito Archive

Fantastic Negrito: We Can Turn It Around (Part 4 / conclusion)

Continued from Part Three… And even though Fantastic Negrito is now a high-profile Grammy-winning performer and recording artist, he still feels and maintains a close connection to that neighborhood. “The people I started my collective label [Blackball Universe] with, they’re all guys I grew up with,” he says. “We did everything – committed crimes and

Fantastic Negrito: We Can Turn It Around (Part 3)

Continued from Part Two… The production on The Last Days of Oakland is “boxy,” and Xavier says that that quality is a deliberate aesthetic choice. “I wanted it to feel like I’m sitting right in someone’s living room,” he says. And I tried to minimize production; I was really going for a sense of urgency,

Fantastic Negrito: We Can Turn It Around (Part 2)

Continued from Part One… A 2014 EP titled Fantastic Negrito debuted Xavier’s new approach. Ostensibly blues, the five-song EP draws from a wider array of influences. Released to enthusiastic critical notices, the EP created a buzz but didn’t break through on a large scale. Undaunted and sure of his musical direction, Xavier created a low-budget

Fantastic Negrito: We Can Turn It Around (Part 1)

(An edited version of this feature appeared in print in Living Blues Magazine.) All photos © Audrey Hermon Kopp Fantastic Negrito is a a lot of things. On the surface, he’s a stage persona, the human means of delivery for songs that chronicle the realities of life. But dig deeper and you’ll find Xavier Dhphrepaulezz,

Best of 2016: Interviews

In 2016 alone, I’ve interviewed more than 140 artists; that’s nearly half the number I interviewed in the decade prior to this year. I hope 2017 will be at least as busy; I find my conversations with creatives extremely rewarding. I’ve learned a few things along the way, and one of the most important realizations

Best Music of 2016: Concerts

There’s a bit of overlap where my best albums and best concerts of 2016 are concerned. And there are some old favorites, too. John Mayall Neighborhood Theatre, Charlotte NC March 11, 2016 It was only around this time that I pivoted to writing as a full-time job (in other words, how I make my living).

Best Music of 2016: New Releases

I’ve said it before, and in 2016 it’s true as ever: those people who complain that there’s no good music any more simply aren’t looking hard enough, or in the right places. I had no trouble coming up with a Top Ten Eleven list of new albums for 2016. I easily could have added many

Captivate and Provoke: The modern black roots music of Fantastic Negrito

Note: this is the second of two features I’ve written recently about Fantastic Negrito (here’s the first one). Expect more; this guy is one to watch. — bk Fantastic Negrito is the musical persona of Xavier Dphrepaulezz. Raised in a strict Muslim family, he ran away from home at 12 and never returned. He would

Fantastic Negrito: Fantastic Reinvention

The story of Fantastic Negrito is the stuff of Hollywood legends. But it has the distinction of being true: the man born Xavier Dphrepaulezz taught himself to play a multitude of instruments, scored a record deal, made a good album that stiffed, had a car wreck and nearly died, worked his way back to health,