How can an artist be given an award every time they plug in their amplifier and yet still be so criminally underrated?
This is where we find ourselves with Fantastic Negrito in 2022. I feel like I’m constantly doing that bit from Run The Jewels 3 where the song goes
“I told y’all suckers! I told y’all suckers on RTJ 1 then I told you again on RTJ 2 but you still ain’t believing so here we go, RTJ 3 Motherfuckers!”
Except I’m talking about a different artist. Plastic Hamburgers was my entry point, from the album Please Don’t Be Dead. Then How Long? from Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? Had me losing mine. There was Root City after that and now? And now? His Django Unchained era had begun to with this concept album and genre bending groove palace. Black Jesus, White Problems stands tall as one of the very best rock/blues/funk/giveitaname records of 2022.
It’s got P-Funk, it’s got 70’s pop, it’s got hard rock guitars and Motown soul backing vocals, there are gospel and field songs layered with Prince And The Revolution meets The Black Keys. WJWP is a cornucopia of an album. All hits, all class, all fantastic.
The stirring epic Virginia Soil that closes the album would have you all nodding your approval from the moral high ground.
The moodscape of wraith wails and soul lament on track one, Venomous Dogma turns on a sixpence to eulogising and string laced space rock before getting a stomp on and a blues refrain. Track twos handover into the dirty disco of Highest Bidder make for a powerful one/two opening. By the time you get to the third song it’s quite clear each track will be mixed to it’s own unique recipe. This of course means not every song will be to everyones taste (it also runs a risk of the album sounding inconsistent. Fear not, you’re in the hands of master of the craft… Erm, Negrito that is. Not me). Fanta (as he lets me call him) side steps these pace changes with the same sort of sample speech interludes his last album used so deftly.
They Go Low has huge hooks and harmonies while invoking Michelle Obama and Elvis Presley in the same tale of ghetto life. But, I want to go where the party is today. It’s party season. And Nibbadip is the albums most frivolous (and therefore in some ways it’s most vital) track. Shiny suits and spotlights on the backing band are de rigueur for this Obladi-Oblada for the Oakland of the past.
Oh Betty obviously doesn’t carry the same cultural baggage in the US it does in the UK. To be Frank this soulful torchsong would not benefit from a trench coat or roller-skates*. Those fuzz tones and organ boogies are terrific over a rollicking groove.
I won’t go on to list out every track but I think the acoustic blues of You Better Have A Gun also deserves props if we’re saluting the album as a whole. The Fantastic Negrito sound is a many splendored thing.
*Dated niche UK television reference, for the old farts only
3 thoughts on “Nibbadip – Fantastic Negrito”
I saw him live, I think in 2019, what an energy and force! He does feel quite underrated, or almost under the radar, but I have no idea how!
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He wins Grammys like I win parking tickets and yet he’s not a house hold name. It’s criminal (on both counts actually)
I just finished watching the movie. As good as any Beatles movie I’ve seen. He reminds me so much of Prince. Such a creative individual with so much to say. First time hearing of him. Thanks for sharing, SFTD!
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