Release Date: Jul 29, 2014
Record label: OVO Sound
Genre(s): Rap, R&B, Contemporary R&B, Alternative R&B
Last year's self-titled debut from PARTYNEXTDOOR saw the Mississauga-born singer and producer refashion himself as something of a narcotics-fueled lech, a persona that has, in 2014, hardened into an archetype familiar to anyone with a remote interest in R&B over the last half-decade. The beats were shadier than those he sang over when he was making music under his own name, Jahron Brathwaite, and so was his character. "You got wild bitches telling you lies" he sang on "Wild Bitches", a line so Weeknd-esque that it's kind of shocking Abel Tesfaye didn't get to it first; elsewhere, he boasted of ejaculating on a lover.
With each new effort, the Mississauga, Ontario artist known as Partynextdoor is getting stronger, more sure of himself as an artist and more aware of the syrupy slow-smooth musical direction in which he wants to go. As long as he refuses to coast, he should be in a good place, music-wise. So far, it seems like Jahron Anthony Brathwaite a.k.a. PND has decided to settle into a sing-rap kind of groove a la his mentor Drake.
There are many an artist looking to jump on this Alternative R&B trend just because they can seem a little more sensible compared to Contemporary R&B and Urban-Pop artists. But a true Alternative R&B artist doesn’t behave with R&B influences; they disobey and work so far outside the lines they only remember it when they pronounce it directly. Classic examples include Miguel, FKA Twigs, Kelela and Quadron.
Few captured the zeitgest of 2013 better than PARTYNEXTDOOR, who ascended impossibly fast from the hazy lights of Drake’s Houstatlantavegas. A co-sign and an October’s Very Own blog post on April 2013 from the most visible figure in hip-hop instantly transformed PND’s “Make A Mil” into a buzzing single, but unlike his OVO boss, PARTYNEXTDOOR had no interest in divulging details about himself to swelling audiences. The hype became intensely enigmatic — an artist selling an aesthetic of guarded coldness, one who only showed face through a heavily blurred album cover, was crooning lines like, “Talk here ain’t cheap, but it’s on the budget baby/I lick ya, I dick ya, and that’s word to the public” on “Wild Bitches.
For those who aren't already familiar with my intimate and often convoluted musical preferences, here's the background between myself and one Mr. PARTYNEXTDOOR. A little over a year ago I decided to hate him, although at the time I didn't even know who "him" was. The allmighty Drake simply tweeted "Make A Mil", a song by a then-mysterious new, enigmatically singer named PARTYNEXTDOOR, and predictably the interwebz lost its collective shit.