Fantastic Negrito — Have You Lost Your Mind yet? — Album Review
Funk | Blues | American Folk
While this month has been one in which I have had to be adventurous in terms of discovering new projects, the newest outing from Oakland, California artist Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz, more widely known as Fantastic Negrito, was an album that I had been genuinely anticipating.
While 2017 saw the release of Fantastic Negrito’s debut album The Last Days of Oakland, it wouldn’t be until the following year where I first discovered the blues singer-songwriter. This was thanks to his sophomore album, 2018’s Please Don’t Be Dead, which absolutely took me by storm, as it settled nicely amongst my favourite albums of that year.
Skipping to the outlandish year of 2020, and we see a new project being teased by Dphrepaulezz, and with each teaser track, my excitement for this new album grew rapidly. Each of the three teaser tracks that I listened to prior to the album’s full release, really did a marvellous job at capturing the essence of what makes Fantastic Negrito and his music so enjoyable; the sheer passion and earthy blues energy overflowed each of these tracks. So it was safe to say that I was excited to hear Have You Lost Your Mind yet? in full.
In a fitting manner, the album begins with the three aforementioned teaser tracks. I felt that this was a nice way for people like myself, who have listened to the teasers prior, to gain a sense of familiarity with the album right away.
After a break between the teasers and newer tracks created by the interlude that is “Shigamabu Blues”, we are finally able to get stuck into the nitty gritty of what is new. And what we got was another three consecutively enjoyable tracks, particularly tracks 5 and 6; “Searching for Captain Save a Hoe” and “Your Sex Is Overrated”. As for track 7 “These Are My Friends”, I still enjoyed it considerably. However, it definitely feels like the kind of track that needs a little more time to grow on listeners.
The same can be said for “King Frustration” as well, which is slow, steady, and consistent. But as a result, the sense of progression or dynamics are sacrificed a little bit. In-fact, the only full track which I found too tedious would be “All up in My Space” which generally feels like it didn’t really go anywhere progressively, and ultimately came across as forgettable.
Aside from that, I honestly think my only real glaring issue with the album lies within its interludes, which is taken out, would’ve left me understanding the albums narrative just the same. Therefore, they feel like they hold very little significance to the album as a whole.
But back to the positives to say about this album, which one-hundred percent outweigh the cons, I feel that thanks to the more polished and stylistically consistent nature of the album, I may even go as far to say that I prefer this album to the likes of Please Don’t Be Dead; there is definitely more to like on this album anyhow.
There are bag-fulls of enjoyment to withdraw from this incredibly passionate, heartfelt, and soulful album, and it’s easy to tell that the album’s abundant highlight carry all of the effort and love that Fantastic Negrito could give.
Favourite Tracks: Chocolate Samurai | How Long? | Your Sex is Overrated
Least Favourite Track: All up in My Space
Cooking Vinyl Limited