fantastic negrito Archive

Chocolate Samurai: More from My Conversation with Fantastic Negrito (Part Two)

Continued from Part One … Police violence and racial disparity have been in the news a whole lot more in recent times than they had been in a long time. Do you think things are actually getting worse or are people just starting to get fed up and it’s starting to get reported on more?

Chocolate Samurai: More from My Conversation with Fantastic Negrito (Part One)

Thanks to my friend and former bandmate Jeff Japp, I discovered the music of Fantastic Negrito right around the time he released his stunning – and eventually Grammy-winning – debut, The Last Days of Oakland. I’ve also been lucky enough to see him live onstage no less than three times, and I’ve had at least

Fantastic Negrito: ‘These are My Friends’

This feature appeared previously in SF Weekly — bk When Xavier Dphrepaulezz reinvented himself as Fantastic Negrito, his self-described “black roots music for everyone” struck a chord with the listening public. While he had released an album in the ‘90s as Xavier, the life-changing aftermath of a serious auto accident in 1999 led to his

Fantastic Negrito: Never Give Up

When Fantastic Negrito emerged onto the music scene in 2015, he looked to all the world like a new, emerging artist. Winner of that year’s Tiny Desk Contest for his song and video “Lost in a Crowd,” the Oakland musician showcased a sound that built upon the blues, but that didn’t conform to most people’s

Musoscribe’s Best of 2018

Even having shifted my focus these last few years toward interviews and feature writing, I still manage to listen to and review quite a few albums. In one form or another, I covered some 170 albums of new music in 2018. It’s no surprise that a few have risen to the top, deemed worthy of

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