Unclassified, but dignified
Meticulously crafted, yet easily digested, blues music has remained a keystone genre for listeners since its upbringing in various U.S. cities. It’s a style delicately placed in different socio-political climates, with the potential to ease pain or keep the night going on. Today’s contemporary blues is truly a mix of old and new sounds and modern reasoning.
Though he released music under other, different pseudonyms in the past, Fantastic Negrito chose to release Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? with distinct showmanship of his musical versatility. This album has the potential to thrust itself onto multiple genre’s top charts. As an inspired and talented bluesman, this concoction is truly bountiful in musical style and socio-political messages. Fueled by a lyrical examination of America’s broken system and Negrito’s mental health issues, this album is a complex agenda within a digestible music style.
Previously released this year, “Chocolate Samurai” is a compilation of blues, soul and vibrant pleasures to kick off this album. With a classic gospel-like background, this song is a mix of old flares and new trends. The riff alone is worth picking up a guitar to try, and the beat is worth swinging one’s hips for. To follow, “I’m So Happy I Cry” contains the aura of previous soul legends within its lyrics but transcended into the 21st century with modern transitions and loud dialogue.
To slow down a bit, “How Long?” is smooth and touching. This song has a huge heart and gawking opalescent eyes which draws people in with each of Negrito’s change in pitch. “Shigamabu Blues” is 56 seconds of pure blues with a modern message. Short and to the point, this track is technically blues, but frail and weak. Make it longer, or just cut it. But any song with “Blues” in the name deserved more listening time. This is the same as “Justice in America.” Political opinions aside, this song seems forcefully inserted into this album’s repertoire and lacks musical integrity.
“Searching for Captain Save a Hoe” is an ode to Negrito’s alternative musical talents, combining dated rap with soul-ed out hip-hop. With a feature from E-40 and a dirty guitar riff it is worth a listen, but not an addition to the playlist. “Your Sex is Overrated” kicks it up a notch. Negrito’s vocals shine like a diamond in this passionate tune of lust and desire. As the longest song on the album, it provides every pitch of his marvelous voice. Reaching James Brown high notes, and Muddy Waters’ low ones, this track is a true journey of Negrito’s musical talent.
“These Are My Friends” is a similar mixture of Negrito’s modern blues flare. With a little bit more speed, this track has to reach hollowed vocals that mix to make something beautiful. “All up in My Space” has hip-hop undertones and an early ’90s intonation. This is also the case with “King Frustration,” but with the added distortion and solid guitar riffs. Negrito’s voice hits new lows (in pitch). With the added background instrumental riffs and lengthy solo, this track only adds more to Negrito’s musical adaptability.
As the last track on the album, “Platypus Dipster” is a mix of the album’s assorted genres. Its interesting name is hard to relate to the song itself, but with a little listening, the track grows on listeners like a fungus. Though after the previous tracks, it’s hard to dissect for a reason or a message within. This is simply blinded with upbeat rhythms and smooth blues instrumentals.
Fantastic Negrito’s Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? is truly a melting pot of new and old sounds. Negrito’s tracks seem to slowly blend into each other, though depending on the listener this can enhance its significance and raise their consciousnesses. As it is especially difficult to produce with such an intense message, he deserves significant credit for his attempt as it is a beautiful compilation; though it lacks certain elements to reach further into the likes of new fans.