Fantastic Negrito‘s debut album, The Last Days Of Oakland, is due June 17th on Blackball Universe via Tunecore/Believe. Working Poor will be the first single. He’s currently touring Europe with Chris Cornell and plays the Royal Albert Hall 3rd May.

Fantastic Negrito – real name Xavier Dphrepaulezz – has a career in music that goes back over 25 years. He ran with Oakland street gangs in his teens, but cleaned up and was signed to Prince’s management by the early 1990s and had a flop megabucks album on Interscope as Xavier. In 1999 he suffered a horrific car crash that resulted in a fractured skull, shattered limbs and three weeks in a coma. After a slow recovery, he went through several musical alter egos – including the punk band Blood Sugar X – before walking away from music for five years, only to regenerate as bluesman Fantastic Negrito in his late forties.

Nowadays Fantastic Negrito runs an arts-collective in his hometown of Oakland; he has played at Bernie Sanders’ campaign rallies in New Hampshire and Vegas and sang with Blackalicious on their latest album.

He can be seen performing in Fox’s acclaimed hip-hop drama Empire (UK broadcast on E4 on May 9th); and the 2nd season of Hand Of God, which features his song, An Honest Man as theme tune, returns this autumn. Last year he won NPR’s Tiny Desk video contest ahead of 7000 others with this entry:

Watch this short intro video to get a flavour of this extraordinarily talented and charismatic man’s story:

Fantastic Negrito is an indie Al Green with the emotional depth of a Delta original. He’s a genuine African-American heir to the great lineage of blues, soul and funk vocalists and showmen, while employing the attack of rock and alt icons such as Robert Plant and Jack White. He manifests the politics of a Gil Scott Heron: immediately in his support of Sanders, but also in his long-term community commitments – The Last Days Of Oakland alludes to the frantic gentrification of his hometown. And just listen to the political twist he gives to his version of the folk-blues classic, In The Pines: it’s the stuff of both legend and the here and now.

UK & Eire Tour Dates with Chris Cornell
Sunday 24th April – BELFAST – Ulster Hall
Monday 25th April – DUBLIN – Olympia Theatre
Wednesday 27th April – MANCHESTER – Bridgewater Hall
Friday 29th April – GLASGOW – Royal Concert Hall
Saturday 30th April – BRISTOL – Colston Hall
Sunday 1st May – STOURPORT – The Swan Hotel
Monday 2nd May – BIRMINGHAM – Symphony Hall
Tuesday 3rd May – LONDON – Royal Albert Hall
Wednesday 4th May – LONDON – Rough Trade East, in-store – 1pm – (Solo gig)
Wednesday 4th May – LONDON -The Blues Kitchen, Camden 9.45pm (Solo gig)