Fantastic Negrito will bridge his family history with modern societal contemplations on his new album, White Jesus Black Problems. Out on June 3rd via his own Storefront Records, the LP will arrive alongside a full-length studio film of the same name. Accompanying the multi-media announcement is the lead single, “Highest Bidder”.
The inspiration for White Jesus Black Problems goes back to 1750s colonial Virginia. It was here that the artist born neé Xavier Dphrepaulezz‘s seventh-generation white Scottish grandmother (Grandma Gallamore), an indentured servant, lived in a common-law marriage with his seventh-generation African American enslaved grandfather (Grandfather Courage). Negrito’s ancestors’ relationship was in open defiance of the racist, separatist policies of the 18th century south, and today serves as the inspiration of his most ambitious project yet.
After recently discovering this family history, Negrito composed over 50 new songs. That lot was then whittled down to 13 songs and interludes to form White Jesus Black Problems. For the first time, Fantastic Negrito recorded the tracks live, in-studio with his drummer James Small (who also plays Grandfather Courage in the film). He later layered the tracks with additional instruments before bringing in collaborators including bassist Cornelius Mims, guitarist Masa Kohama, keyboardist Lionel LJ Holoman, and cellist Mia Pixley.
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“Highest Bidder” arrives as the first preview of White Jesus Black Problems. The song is imbued with Negrito’s trademark biting social commentary, further strengthened by his added knowledge of family roots. The densely layered track confronts the intersection of racism and capitalism head-on as all of our carnal pursuits are sold to the “Highest Bidder” in a twisted socioeconomic hierarchy.
“That song’s as true today as it’s ever been. The Egyptians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Americans, everything goes to the highest bidder. It’s human nature. People always want to have the best.” Negrito said in a statement. “It’s all predicated on extracting the most out of other people for the least. In this country, we worship billionaires while parts of some cities look like what we’d call the third world. I’m trying to convey what I see when I walk down the street here in Oakland.”
Watch the music video for “Highest Bidder” by Fantastic Negrito and click here to pre-order White Jesus Black Problems. Negrito will announce a series of album release shows over the next few weeks. Scroll down for an album tracklist and artwork, as well as a trailer for the White Jesus Black Problems film.
Fantastic Negrito – “Highest Bidder” (Official Video)
White Jesus Black Problems (Trailer)
White Jesus Black Problems Tracklist
1. Venomous Dogma
2. Highest Bidder
3. Mayor of Wasteland
4. They Go Low
6. Oh Betty
7. You Don’t Belong Here
8. Man With No Name
9. You Better Have A Gun
11. In My Head
12. Register of Free Negroes
13. Virginia Soil