Xavier Dphrepaulezz tells his story of falling victim to vices in his childhood… of how he signed a million dollar record contract and falling victim to capitalism in music. He was a robot in many ways, following the false American dream. But then a tragic incident turned his life around. It forced him to believe in truth and honesty in music – he became Fantastic Negrito, the anti-robot.

Video shot by Jess Jones and Nathaniel Kohfield, edited by Christie Goshe. Photos by Timothy Kempf.

About the speaker

Fantastic Negrito is a musical transfiguration for Xavier Dphrepaulezz. He is black roots music for everyone, Blues with a punk attitude from Oakland, California.

Dphrepaulezz’s life changed drastically when he was involved in a near death car accident resulting in a three-week coma, leaving him with rods and pins placed throughout his body. He struggled with physical therapy for years to get some movement from what he now calls “The Claw.” This quieter time spawned a powerful re-incarnation, and after a five year hiatus, Dphrepaulezz created Fantastic Negrito. Inspired by Delta bluesmen such as R.L Burnside and Skip James, he transformed his compositions by sampling and looping his own live recordings. He told NPR that ‘Fantastic’ is self-explanatory; the ‘Negrito’ is a way to open blackness up to everyone, making it playful and international.”

The musician recently drew national attention for his rousing performance of the original song “Lost In A Crowd”, winner of NPR Music’s first-ever Tiny Desk Concert Contest.

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