The art desk - Album: Fantastic Negrito - Have You Lost Your Mind Yet?

August 03, 2020

The art desk - Album: Fantastic Negrito - Have You Lost Your Mind Yet?

Like Fantastic Negrito’s previous, Grammy-winning albums, Last Days of Oakland and Please Don’t be Dead, Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? holds up a critical mirror to life in the USA in the same way that What’s Goin’ On, Sign of the Times and There’s a Riot Goin’ On did in previous periods of social upheaval. This disc is also no pale imitation of those monumental classics, and Fantastic Negrito stands unashamedly shoulder to shoulder in the company of Marvin Gaye, Prince and Sly Stone. There’s also more than a splash of George Clinton’s mighty Parliament-Funkadelic mob about Have You Lost Your Mind Yet?, such is the breadth of quality on offer.

“What have we become?” he cries on the deep and soulful “How Long?”, as he shines a light on the horrors of lynch mobs trawling the streets of America, the gun violence deeply embedded in the culture and the untreated mental health issues that both fuel these issues and are created by them. Meanwhile the spoken sample of “In America there is justice, just as long as you have some money” in “Justice in America” suggests that’s there’s no immediate rescue coming for many of the victims either.

There is celebration too though, especially on the gospel/soul/hip-hop/blues gumbo of Negrito’s duet with Tarriona “Tank” Bell, “I’m so Happy I Cry” and the lively, old school rhythm and blues of “Chocolate Samurai”. Similarly, the bluesy psychedelic soul of his reimagining of E-40’s “Captain Save a Hoe” and the stomping funk groove of “Platypus Dipster” aim straight for the hips and all but lay down the law to get up and cut a rug on the dancefloor. In fact, it doesn’t seem outrageous to suggest that Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? is certain to pick up yet another Grammy for Fantastic Negrito at next year's ceremony.

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