Xavier Dphrepaulezz first gained notoriety as Fantastic Negrito after winning NPR’s first Tiny Desk Concert Contest, which brought attention to his self-titled debut EP. Now, the soulful roots singer is set to follow up that acclaimed release with his first-ever full-length, The Last Days of Oakland, due out June 3rd via Blackball Universe.
As with much of his music, the new album will tackle the issues of race, classism, and other socioeconimic problems he’s experienced both firsthand and witnessed as he’s toured the country.“We are in a new phase,” Dphrepaulezz explained in a press release. “An era has definitely ended and I can feel it in every major city I toured in the States. Black folks have moved out of the city in large numbers. The cities have become almost impossible to live in due to skyrocketing rent and high costs of living. I feel the end of something always means the beginning of something new. I like my chances and I like yours in The Last Days of Oakland. It’s really up to us collectively if we choose.”
As an example of this socially conscious music, Fantastic Negrito has shared the new single “Working Poor”. The track has a smoky blues beat that would almost recall Tom Waits if it weren’t for the funky bits of wailing piano and bass. “Him clean my city/ Me sell my soul,” Dphrepaulezz in a strained whisper. “Him evil genius/ Turned working people into the working poor.” Listen to the song, which ends with soundbites of folks bemoaning their financial woes, below.