Welcome to Pass the Aux, where KQED Arts & Culture brings you our favorite new tracks by Bay Area artists. Check out past entries and submit a song for future coverage here.
Fantastic Negrito’s rise has been fascinating to watch. And now that it’s been several years since he ascended from street busker to Grammy winner, the Oakland blues musician isn’t resting on his laurels. On the contrary, he’s coming out with some of the most compelling work of his career—songs that chew on some of the heaviest issues of our time, and move both body and mind.
Late last year, Fantastic Negrito and Oakland country singer Miko Marks teamed up for “Rollin’ Through California,” a foot-stomping, organ-driven track that takes stock of the damage from our state’s rampant wildfires. (Watch him and his band perform it live at KQED’s headquarters.)
And today, Fantastic Negrito dropped his new single and video for “Highest Bidder,” which—with lyrics in the vein of D’Angelo’s classic “Devil’s Pie”—remarks at the corruption of America’s unbridled capitalism. “Ohhh that bank is a serial killer / Trying to build more prisons for your children,” Fantastic Negrito sings in a falsetto to an African drum pattern and funk guitar.