As an aspiring songwriter, Jahron Brathwaite signed a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell at 18. The songs the Mississauga-born artist wrote for other artists before assuming the moniker PARTYNEXTDOOR never found much traction, but after darkening his sound Brathwaite caught the ear of OVO co-founder Oliver El-Khatib in early 2013. Fast-forward a few months and his vocals were floating in the background on Drake’s Nothing Was the Same.
“Looking for revenge all summer ‘16,” Drake announced earlier this year on his single “Summer Sixteen”. At the time, we knew another huge commercial success was in store for Drizzy in the form of Views, but it wasn’t yet clear just how active other artists on his OVO Sound roster would be. OVO artists Majid Jordan, dvsn, and Roy Woods have all dropped well-received projects this year in Majid Jordan, SEPT 5th, and Waking at Dawn, respectively, securing the continued relevance of OVO’s sleek, icy aesthetic.
PartyNextDoor’s music career has been spent in the shadows. He rose to prominence at a bizarre time: label boss Drake and affiliate The Weeknd had just parted ways, and the rap star seemingly swiped Party up as a crooning replacement. On paper, it was a sound business move because both Party (born Jahron Brathwaite) and the Weeknd (born Abel Tesfaye) were cryptic torch-bearers of the Toronto music scene with tendencies towards the city’s darker side.
Between Kyrie, Kehlani and Kylie, PARTYNEXTDOOR has had his hands full with a lot of disheartening non-music related undertakings. Being caught up in a high-profile love triangle that resulted in a suicide attempt is presumably enough to make anyone a little low-spirited, hence why his newest offering, titled P3, is the most emotionally exposed Party has ever been. From the opening of P3, it’s evident Drake’s trusted artist has really suffered some serious love and loss since his last musical endeavor.
Between his second and third PartyNextDoor releases, Jahron Brathwaite scored his first number one pop hit with Rihanna and Drake's "Work," a lightly dancehall-tinged song credited to several other writers, including fellow Jamaican-Canadian artists Boi-1da and Sevn Thomas. On this album, Brathwaite brags "You heard a lot about Jamaicans and you wanna know what it feel like," occasionally slips into patois, and reconnects with Boi-1da for "Only U," a harder-hitting dancehall cut. "Only U" is clearly a bid for sustained crossover success, as it's also one of the few clean tracks on the album, all about longing and devotion instead of bold objectification and poisonous relationships.
The artistic progression of Mississauga, ON's Partynextdoor has been measured. After penning hits for Drake and Rihanna, it's clear that Jahron Anthony Brathwaite wants — no, at this point needs — some of that spotlight shine on his own efforts. But while PND's production is typically on point, his songwriting and vocal skills are still evolving.Opening dirge "High Hopes" sets the tone for P3, his latest, 16-track effort: 6ix callouts, patois and pop references galore.
Although music aficionados might see themselves as deep types, the appreciation of music is often linked to gossip. Even Dylanologists care who Dylan’s songs were about. Over in the demimonde of nocturnal R&B, Drake protege PartyNextDoor (Jahron Brathwaite) spent March in an ugly social media storm. His ex, Kehlani – an R&B superstar-in-waiting – had been dating basketball celebrity Kyrie Irving.
The melodic possibilities of the word Toronto – as well as its variations and names of surrounding suburbs – get a workout on the second studio album by Mississauga’s PARTYNEXTDOOR (aka Jahron Brathwaite). Much like Drizzy’s Views, P3 spreads its tales of woe, heartache and sex across the GTA, and in doing so further aligns the city with OVO Sound’s minimal melancholy and bass-worshipping aesthetic. The distance between men and women – emotional and physical – is at the core of many of these songs, yet the album manages to be the most playful PARTYNEXTDOOR record to date.