Have You Lost Your Mind Yet?

Fantastic Negrito

Cooking Vinyl, 2020


REVIEW BY: Conrad Warre


The two-time Grammy Award winner known as Fantastic Negrito is back with his new album Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? In 2016, his album The Last Days Of Oakland won best contemporary blues album at the 56th Grammy Awards, and his album Please Don't Be Dead won the same award in 2019.

The collection of songs contained in Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? are a goulash of hip-hop, funk, R&B, soul, blues, and rock music. Negrito’s career has been derailed more than once, and he now leans into even more social awareness than his contemporaries. He tests the racial, personal, and political status quo with his lyrics, and with his musical deconstructions of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s soul albums brought up to speed with the instrumental and digital sequencing forays of his peers. Sometimes it’s a piano, sometimes it’s just pro-tools; it’s all good. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The track the label is pushing out the door into the marketplace is “I’m So Happy I Cry,” which features guest artist Tank and resembles a mid-tempo gospel announcement interlaced with Tank’s rap. “Searching For A Captain Save A Hoe” recalls “I Am The Walrus” by the Beatles as far back as 1967. Both in mood and tempo, Negrito has obviously spent the time he’s not writing and performing listening to a wide canvas of “popular” music. He claims to have been inspired by Prince’s Dirty Mind album, as evidenced is evidenced by “Your Sex Is Overrated” (featuring guest Masa Kohama), which could have composed by Prince. The 30 seconds long track “Justice In America” announces the sentiment “In America there is justice, just as long as you have some money.” “Platypus Dipster” is pure power pop. The opening track is the source of the album’s title “Chocolate Samurai” and leans heavily towards James Brown big band sound. If you’ve never heard Negrito, this album will cover all the bases for you as he rounds to fourth for a home run.

It’s only a matter of time before someone shoots a biopic of Negrito. He was born the eighth of fifteen children in Massachusetts. He moved to Oakland, California where he carried a pistol and dealt drugs as a teenager. He then moved to Los Angeles with a demo on cassette of his songs and was signed to Interscope Records in 1993. After a nearly fatal car crash in 1999, he was in a coma for three weeks. Following his recovery, he waited until 2014 before changing from his previous musical identity from ‘Xavier’ and became the ‘Fantastic Negrito’ releasing his eponymous album Fantastic Negrito on the Blackball Universe label. His album Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? hit the Billboard Blues Chart at #1.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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