Xavier Dphrepaulezz sings like a man compelled by a spiritual force. As a teenager in the ’80s, he left a Muslim household in Massachusetts and sought refuge in the Funkadelic sounds of Oakland, California. He quickly taught himself to play guitar and even landed a multi-million dollar deal with Interscope, but left the label when he felt his identity was “lost” in the process.
His trials wouldn’t end there. After a car crash, Dphrepaulezz was in a coma for three weeks and lost the ability to play guitar. It was a time for him to find peace. He moved back to Oakland, bought a farm and raised a family. Now, he’s regained some usage of his hand and is making bluesy music again as Fantastic Negrito. Last year, he released his self-titled debut EP under the moniker; on July 24th, it’s being reissued as a deluxe edition with a handful of bonus material via Blackball Universe.
One of the additional tracks, “Lost in a Crowd”, may sound familiar to fans. Earlier this year, the song was dubbed the first-ever NPR Tiny Desk Concert contest winner. This final studio version packs even more venom than the Tiny Desk performance, with the guitar a resounding force and the drums pounding with crushing weight. Dphrepaulezz’s voice is impassioned, somewhere between a croon and a scream. It’s a commanding song, making the listener feel every massive beat.
Listen in below.
Pre-orders for the deluxe reissue are ongoing. In support, Fantastic Negrito will be hitting the road this summer.
Fantastic Negrito 2015 Tour Dates:
06/25 – North Adams, MA @ DownStreet Art Festival
07/23 – Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel
07/25 – New York, NY @ SummerStage, Central Park
07/27 – Allston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
07/29 – Louisville, KY @ WFPK Waterfront Wednesdays
07/31 – Chattanooga, TN @ Nightfall Concert Series, Miller Plaza
08/01 – Nashville, TN @ The High Watt
08/06 – San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel
08/08 – San Francisco, CA @ Outside Lands
Also, revisit his performance of “Lost in a Crowd” at this year’s SXSW Utopia Sessions: