Fantastic Negrito: The Last Days of Oakland (Album Review, Videos & Full Album Stream)

Fantastic Negrito’s debut full-length album, The Last Days of Oakland, churns classic blues, soul, and funk with modern garage rock like somebody spun Lead Belly, Buddy Guy, Otis Redding, and Black Joe Lewis records in a blender.

Fantastic Negrito, led by singer and multi-instrumentalist Xavier Dphrepaulezz, first caught my attention jammin’ with Jamal in a club on Fox’s Empire. At the time they only had a couple of EPs out, so I was very excited for this album’s release. It more than lives up to the anticipation.

The entire album is a nonstop brilliant and bombastic rumination on injustice and inequality of both social and economic natures. My personal favorite tracks…

“Working Poor” has a fiercely catchy guitar riff and twisted refrain of Little Richard’s “Keep on Knockin'” with lyrics about the working class’ struggle to survive despite working as hard as we possibly can.

When I was curating Muruch.com for RAINN, I tried and failed to arrange a worthy cover of the traditional Appalachian folk song “In the Pines” (aka “Black Girl” aka Lead Belly/Nirvana’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night”), so my heart just about exploded when I saw the song title on The Last Days of Oakland‘s tracklist.

Fantastic Negrito not only delivers a magnificently revamped, reverberating rendition of “In the Pines,” they also composed a new, gut-punch verse envisioning the “Black Girl” as the single mother of a son shot by police. It is the most perfect cover, beyond anything I could have imagined.

photo credit: Robbie Welsh

Other highlights are “Hump Through the Winter,” which follows the same theme as “Working Poor,” “Rant on Rushmore,” and the song they jammed with Jamal, “Lost in a Crowd”…

Fantastic Negrito Official Site

Buy @ Amazon

Muruch’s 2015 Winter TV Guide

Muruch’s Fall TV Schedule

Day / Time (EST) TV Show Network
Tues / 8pm Parks & Recreation NBC
Tues / 8:30pm The Mindy Project FOX
Tues / 9pm New Girl FOX
Tues / 10pm Chicago Fire NBC
Wed / 8pm American Idol FOX
Wed / 8:30pm The Goldbergs ABC
Wed / 9pm Empire Fox
Wed / 10pm Nashville ABC
Thurs / 8pm Grey’s Anatomy ABC
Thurs / 9pm Scandal ABC
Thurs / 10pm Parenthood NBC
Fri / 9pm 12 Monkeys SyFy
Sun/ 8:30pm Brooklyn Nine Nine FOX
Sun/ 9pm The Good Wife CBS
Sun/ 9pm Downton Abbey PBS
Sun/ 10pm Grandchester PBS

M-F Shows:
Wendy Williams (Various, Syndication)
The View (11am, ABC)
CBS This Morning (7-9am, CBS)
Jimmy Fallon (11:30pm, NBC)

M-F Shows, Depending on Guests:
Charlie Rose (PBS)
Tavis Smiley (PBS)
Conan O’Brien(TBS)

Shows I’ll watch when they return or hit Netflix:
Billy on the Street (Fuse)
Moone Boy (PBS)
Drunk History (Comedy Central)
Halt & Catch Fire (AMC)
Mad Men (AMC)
Outlander (Starz)

I also just binge-watched the entire 8th season of Doctor Who and I love Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor! The whole season was the best since the Christopher Eccleson days.