2x GRAMMY® Award-winner Fantastic Negrito wrote a song entitled "How Long?" confronting those behind school shootings, police brutality and other acts of senseless violence. Negrito holds a mirror up to society at large and asks why have people become disconnected from humanity, and how has our current culture become a fertile environment for this behavior? Negrito has now released a stark companion video featuring closeups of his face, directed by Isaiah Frazier. This is not a song that observes and comments from topographical distances. This is a song in the trenches. This is a song that has seen it, lived it. This is a song that can't cry anymore.
"When I was writing 'How Long?,' I was actually talking to the shooter -- a very familiar subject in American society. We all know who the shooter is. He’s isolated, scared, maybe he feels betrayed, and to hide his fear, he consumes images and media that make him feel powerful.
"If I had the chance, I would tell the shooter he’s not in it alone. I would tell him I know despair. I would confess to him all of the horrible things I have done in my life. All of the darkness, the foster homes, the sexual predators, my past criminal activity. I’ve hurt a lot of people. I ran away from home when I was 12 years old. I saw my 14-year-old brother with his head blown open, and I helped my mother clean the blood off the floor. I watched my 16-year-old cousin get buried in a coffin. My best friend was murdered in a barbershop here in the liberal, peace-loving Bay Area. I survived a three-week coma. I lost my playing hand, and I felt like everything was over. But it wasn’t.
"Hopefully being able to survive those things and share them with people in despair can help ease all the pain."
"How Long?" is the second song released from Fantastic Negrito's anticipated new album. HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND YET?, arriving everywhere via Cooking Vinyl/Blackball Universe on Friday, August 14. The album is available for pre-order now, with all pre-orders joined by instant grat downloads of “How Long,” as well as the current single rising up the radio charts, “Chocolate Samurai,” which Fantastic Negrito performed on CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert #PlayAtHome series.
HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND YET? marks Fantastic Negrito’s most far-reaching work thus far, fusing elements of hip-hop, R&B, funk, soul, and rock ‘n roll into an incendiary synthesis all his own. Inspired by and reminiscent of the socio-political albums coming from black America in the late 1960s and into the 70s, the album sees Negrito exploring the struggle and complexities of mental health issues while continuing his long running lyrical examination of America’s increasingly broken social and political state of affairs.
Though known far and wide as a gifted bluesman, Negrito shows off his extraordinary musical versatility on tracks like “How Long” and the wildly inventive “Searching for Captain Save a Hoe (Feat. E-40),” a thought-provoking modern reinvention of the legendary Bay Area rapper’s 1993 classic, “Captain Save A Hoe.” Additional highlights include “I’m So Happy I Cry,” featuring powerhouse vocals from Tarriona “Tank” Ball of New Orleans’ Tank and the Bangas – a historic moment marking the first-ever collaborative recording by two previous winners of NPR’s influential Tiny Desk Concert contest. As urgent, desperate, and volatile as the times we live in, HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND YET? more than affirms Fantastic Negrito as one of American music’s most vital and provocative artists, no matter the genre, of this or any era.
“On the first two albums, I wrote about broad topics,” Fantastic Negrito says. “The proliferations of gun violence, the evil NRA, gentrification, and homelessness, pharmaceutical companies that prey upon the people. On this album, I wanted to write about people I knew, people I grew up with, people whose lives I could personally affect, and whose lives have impacted me. It was the hardest album I’ve ever written.
“What do I want to say to these people, and to the world? If I had the chance, I would tell them the pain they are feeling, the darkness they are going through is temporary – especially if you consider the span of a human life. I would tell them we can’t fight these obstacles alone. We need each other. Get offline. Talk to people. I would tell them I am here for you. We can’t hide from the pain. We need to look right at it. To really look into someone’s eyes is to feel their power and their vulnerability, to feel humanity, and to feel love.”