Fantastic Negrito and the Oakland Roots Sports Club soccer team have collaborated on the release of “Root City,” a tribute to the town and the club’s new official anthem. The Roots’ purpose is “to harness the magic of Oakland and the power of sport as a force for social good,” and few artists encapsulate the magic of the town more than Fantastic Negrito, whose latest album Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? won him his third “Best Contemporary Blues Album” award at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards in March 2021.
“Soccer is the most-watched sport around the world. Working on this anthem with Oakland Roots felt right because we are part of an international community that appreciates the sport and a local community that includes people from so many different cultures,” said Negrito. “It’s exciting to release this song on Storefront Records, my own record label, and contribute a distinctly Oakland flavor to this global pastime.”.
“Root City” was born from the Roots’ 2020 Justice Match, a soccer match created to promote racial and gender equity that was driven by the club’s response to the protests for racial justice that swept the country following the continued police killings of unarmed people of color. Fantastic Negrito wrote the song specifically to be played before the match and helped raise funds for the Oakland Roots Justice Fund, which supports causes at the intersection of race and gender justice.