Haunting, spiritual, powerful. All words that might be used to describe the current release The Last Days of Oakland by Fantastic Negrito.
The raw honesty that comes across in this music just can’t be overstated. In an age of over-produced music and autotune on vocals, whether they need it or not, this music is really a splash of cold water in the face for the music industry in the hopes that it will wake up and once again demand true artistry!
The perfect blending of hip-hop, blues and R&B is breath-taking and more than sonically pleasing. This is the music of an old soul telling a story to enlighten and entertain others.
The bio on the artist’s website says “Fantastic Negrito is a man’s truth told in the form of black roots music. Each song the true story of a musician from Oakland who experienced the highs of a million-dollar record deal, the lows of a near fatal car accident that put him in a coma, and is now in the phase of rebirth despite his playing hand being mangled.”
I could spend a lot of time talking about the nuts and bolts of the music, the great sound quality, the mean grooves or the musicianship, but let me get to the heart of the matter.
On first listen three things became clear to me from the down beat:
First, Fantastic Negrito loves music and is a recording artist because he has to be–it isn’t a choice, it is as essential as breathing, something I also understand and share with him.
Second, this is the music of a person that has understood hardship, but come through the other side with hope and wisdom to share with those that would listen. Indeed, I can feel the heart break of the centuries of African Americans and others that have been oppressed like an echo of the past brought forward in time via this music.
It’s in the pounding rhythm of “Working Poor” and in the moaning sway of “Nothing Without You”.
And finally, this is great music that can educate, inspire and entertain all at the same time, as proven on the track, perhaps my favorite, “Scary Woman”.
I am so glad to have been introduced to this music! I am now and forever shall be a fan!