2018 – Cooking Vinyl
Release Date : June 15, 2018
By Phillip Smith; June 2, 2018
Please Don’t Be Dead is one of the most exciting albums to be released this year. I’ve been a fan of Fantastic Negrito (Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz) since viewing the C-Store Session videos on YouTube in 2015, and I loved The Last Days of Oakland album which was released in 2016. The title of his latest record, Please Don’t Be Dead, refers to the underlying fear a parent holds for the future of their children in a world filled with school shootings, opioid addictions, and homelessness.
The album wonderfully ignites with an infectious guitar riff backed with a captivating beat on “Plastic Hamburgers”, an anthem about the need for due change. Fantastic Negrito has a genuine gift of sparking moments of inward enlightenment in his songs. With “Bad Guy Necessity”, he sheds light on the age-old craft of misdirection in a Prince/Beatles kind of way, and how it’s used by those in power to create an enemy which only they can eradicate.
A gut-wrenching response to gun violence and mass shootings is revealed in his “Letter to Fear”. This beautiful song, delicately steeped in blues and bathed in swirling sounds of organ is elegantly sung. Funk and gospel are cleverly woven together in “The Suit That Won’t Come Off”, a song about feeling isolated from the world. Fantastic Negrito paints a dire portrait of that place in our minds where we often flee to in the darkest of times. Then he sings a song of apology to those he’s offended or wronged while in that place on a “Cold November Street”.
I dig the hard-hitting hook busting loose on “The Duffler”, and how it smoothly navigates its way through a sweet, galactic groove. The album comes to a close in a huge P-Funk-style presence with “Bullshit Anthem”. The song is slathered in funk and gushing with attitude. It is a sheer delight. On the topic of P-Funk, I recently read that the Godfather of Funk George Clinton plans to retire in 2019. Although, it will be most sad to see him depart, I would love to see Fantastic Negrito pilot the mothership when that time comes. He definitely has what it takes.
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