Oakland took home a Grammy award this Sunday when blues musician Fantastic Negrito won Best Contemporary Blues Album for his album, “The Last Days of Oakland.”
The guitarist, whose name is Xavier Dphrepaulezz, recorded the album to explore the East Bay’s rapidly changing landscape due to displacement, lack of well-paying jobs for longtime residents, and systemic racism.
One of the songs on the album references several recent incidents of newcomer neighbors calling police due to noise complaints, illustrating what many criticized as an unwillingness of gentrifiers to accept Oakland’s deeply rooted and diverse cultures.
“He she call Po Po/me sing too loud,” Dphrepaulezz sings in “Working Poor.”
In another song, a remake of a classic folk song, “In the Pines,” Dphrepaulez sings about the epidemic of Black women losing their sons to police violence in Oakland.
According to CBS Local, the Grammy award-winner was busking in BART stations just a few years ago before moving to Los Angeles where he was able to sign a record deal.
He then returned to Oakland and became involved in the local blues scene.
Over a dozen other Grammy nominees this year hail from the Bay Area, including Oakland-based Los Rakas for Best Latin Rock, Urban, or Alternative Album.