West Oakland blues rock star Fantastic Negrito returns with "White Jesus, Black Problems"
Lalin St. Juste explores her Christian and Haitian Vodou roots; Brycon completes his ECU trilogy of Latin-inspired hip hop beats; Berkeley collective Qamp releases EP
Last night White Crate was honored to host shapeshifting psychedelic songwriter and producer James Wavey on Lower Grand Radio. Much love to everyone who listened in. For those who missed the live show, stay tuned for a link to the recording!
18TH CENTURY OAKLAND BLUES
Come down here in West Oakland
32nd and San Pablo Avenue
Things are just the same
As they were 30 years ago today
Gospel. Blues. Country. Rock & roll. Punk. And a hell of a story to tell—as personal as your heart, as massive as America, as bloody and passionate as both. White Jesus, Black Problems is the fourth full-length album by Oakland blues rocker Fantastic Negrito (aka Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz), and it’s likely his most ambitious work to date. Dphrepaulezz based the work on his seventh-generation grandparents (an African-American grandfather who was a slave and a white Scottish grandmother who was an indentured servant), their illegal common law marriage, and the love and politics that flow from that deep, winding history. And it’s the biggest, best thing from the Bay this week. A full film accompanying the album premieres tomorrow at noon.
FRENCH CHRISTIAN HAITIAN VODOU
This is the beginning of a reclamation process, a healing journey, and a spiritual discovery around who I am and continue to become as a Haitian-American.
Named after the artist’s maternal grandmother, Vertulie is a deeply personal work—a clear window into Lalin St. Juste’s being as well as her rich, multifaceted roots. The first of a two-part series, the EP opens with a French recitation of Psalms 91, a prayer about protection, by Lalin’s mother, before transitioning into a Haitian Vodou song. The second track (“Roll Call”) descends into a dark, buzzing downtempo electronic piece laden with reverberating vocals, before leading into the second half of the album, featuring straight-ahead guitar and voice arrangements. The EP was released by 7000COILS, a label and art house founded by Lalin with Dan X (KKINGBOO) committed to elevating the queer voices of the African and Caribbean diaspora.
LATIN-INSPIRED BEAT HYPNOSIS
“More bugged-out, more rarified, more hazey, more to love.” ECU3: Meet Me in the Middle is the third and final volume in a beat tape series by SF producer Brycon, focused on Latin-influenced and hypnotically looped sound sources. Yet another worthy entrant from one of the most wildly prolific and consistently high quality beatmakers in the Bay.
FREAK FOLK FOR A HOME MOVIE
The “Joy in Living” is the bliss that one might experience while realizing one’s own threshold for continuing. Playing while on pause, this album was born out of the Covid-19 era. The mood of these songs reflects some of the stretching I did while isolating and wearing my comfort mask; Longing for closeness within the persisting distance. I hope that this collaboration, (between these songs and your curiosity), is as consoling as it was for me to create it.
Psychedelic, lofi, crunchy, and the freakiest of folk, Joy in Living “Say Cheese & Die!!” by Rip Florence on Santa Cruz’s Shallow Dive Records celebrates the wonderful weirdness of life through free-flowing psychic romps and jams as catchy as they are confusing.
GLOWING EMBERS, BAY LOVE
“All the talent is coming from the Bay. You got people from Oakland and Vallejo and SF going crazy right now. It’s time for a little revolution to start happening.” Qamp, a Berkeley-based songwriting camp and collective, released a seven-track album executive produced by Casey Cope and Marquito featuring 15 Bay Area artists, including Pallaví aka Fijiana, Stoni, Stoney Creation, Clear Mortifee, and Zharmila. As beautifully produced as the high-quality top-name hip hop and R&B, yet as improvisational and free as a streetside cypher.
REGGAE-FLECKED HIP HOP BEATS
Oakland producer AG released Pundit on SF indie label Solidarity Records, featuring five reggae-inspired instrumental hip hop beats.
SPIKY, UPBEAT RAVE BREAKS
Now if this record is being played at a club, disco, lounge, house basement or block party, car stereo, stoop, or at any other social gathering, we will now allow the beat to continue and proceed to give you more of what you like.
On the second track (“This Record”) of Disc Princess, Oakland producer Bored Lord wins my heart by sampling this section of “Doowutchyalike” by Digital Underground, where it’s announced that the song is continuing past the short radio edit. Of course, the entire four-track EP is great, featuring spiky, upbeat breaks throughout, including the irresistible, entrancing vocal sample on “It’s Fine.”
WORDS TO PAINT PICTURES
Two decades ago, Memphis Reigns and QM were playing shows in Santa Cruz. Now the Bay Area pair have a six-track EP out (plus instrumentals) called Reign Clouds that sounds like hip hop from an earlier era. Sparkly soulful samples, midtempo flows, turntablist effects, and verses “using words to paint pictures.”
“Fourth installment of the 2022 FFS series, featuring two mixes inspired by Ravestation 2.” As of this writing, there are four remaining of the 50 limited edition cassettes of “MY BRAIN IS STILL AT THE RAVE” 2022, the latest by Vallejo’s master footwork producer and DJ SELA. If you haven’t listened to them yet, here’s as good an introduction as any, featuring high-energy, underground, brain-melting rave waves.