When will we get new music from Party?
Upon returning home from the gym to an empty apartment (my parents are out cuffin’), I did what any 23-year-old man with no Valentine’s Day plans would do. Put on my Bluetooth headphones (it’s 2019, let the wires go) and blasted R&B music as I prepared dinner. Two bottles of wine waiting for me too, you know the vibes.
Anyways, one of my favorite love songs of the last few years is “The Right Way” by PARTYNEXTDOOR, and it then lead me to “Better Man” featuring Rick Ross off of the same EP, Seven Days. It got me thinking, boy was this a great project that kind of just…didn’t make much noise. Much like P3 kind of disappeared, and the forthcoming album he heavily promoted in the Summer and Fall of 2017 must’ve vanished. What’s happening?
There’s a variety of reasons that could explain the enigma that is Jahron Anthony Brathwaite’s career. He’s not very vocal for starters. Barely active on social media, definitely a more behind the scenes guy. When he does put work out, it doesn’t get nearly the amount of promotion that label head honcho Drake gets. Which puzzles me because Party does put together solid projects that would do very well commercially if pushed harder. He’s struggled in nailing those big hits on his own, but definitely has a slew of songs that are arguably cult classics. In terms of mixtapes, PARTYNEXTDOOR, PARTYNEXTDOOR 2, and West District are what truly put him on the map as an individual artist.
His pen game goes beyond himself though, as he’s given out multiple bangers to other stars of today. DJ Khaled‘s “Wild Thoughts” starring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller, “Work” and “Sex With Me” by Rih, plus “Shining” featuring Hip Hop’s royal family JAY-Z and Beyoncé. He always has a hand in Aubrey’s projects, whether through backup vocals or production. We also know he has ties to many other people within the industry, namely Kanye West, T-Pain, and Quavo. We already know what he’s capable of on his own, but his network makes it so he could truly put together a solid body of work, with or without actual features. It’s no coincidence he connects to those who double as performers and producers.
Is he playing the waiting game? This could very well be his plan. It works for certain artists, namely Frank Ocean and Young Thug. No matter how many false release dates fans endure, or long delays between projects, those two forever remain on their minds. PND is fortunate to have built a solid foundation early on, so people generally like him and will always call for new music from him. Especially given his last two projects were EPs that totaled at 11 songs (12 if you count the intro on the Soundcloud version).
The other issue is all of his stuff leaks! It’s impossible to turn songs into hits when they aren’t released officially. The discography we see on major streaming platforms is far from the collection of tracks floating around Soundcloud, YouTube, and other alternate universes. Again, the leaks could be totally intentional. It’s a common thing nowadays but I feel like we’ve gotten enough from this guy. “Break Me Down,” “Don’t Do It For You No More,” “Rain,” “Cartier,” and “Trouble” are just some of the heat that hasn’t hit Apple, Spotify or Tidal. It’s album time.
There’s speculation that the artists signed to OVO are held hostage and farming tracks for Aubrey, often songs they may use for themselves. While it’s natural within a label for artists to collaborate, this idea seems moreso detrimental to everyone but Drake. I can’t help but feel a bit conflicted about loving his music if it comes at the expense of work from dvsn, Roy Woods, Majid Jordan, Plaza, and Party. When you check Drake’s credits, these men all appear every so often but not enough to the point where I feel they’re absolutely unable to work on their own.
I said this before but there’s a clear difference in how the aforementioned men’s work gets pushed compared to Drizzy. The bells and whistles don’t ring as loud, and while they definitely aren’t at his level of stardom a case could be made for a few of them having that potential, especially PND. He left his mark on this decade of music, and the growing instant gratification within fans leads us to call for new content from artists every half year or so. I love PND and I think it’s coming soon. I hope so. I don’t know how much longer he will be able to stay incognito.
You’ve got to also consider how wide open the R&B game is right now. Even with all the King talk, no one was named as a clear cut leader of the pack. Even Chris Brown‘s claim was questioned due to putting out Pop music, despite being primarily an R&B guy throughout his career. The throne is absolutely for the taking, it’s just a matter of how convincing one can be.
For Party, his return will have to be huge. Not in terms of the length of the project, but impact. Acts like H.E.R, Daniel Caesar and Pink Sweat$ are leading the Make Instruments Cool Again charge. Party can stay in that blues-trap R&B hybrid lane, get more instrumental, or completely take the genre in a new direction.
This time away, though disappointing for fans, has likely afforded him the time to play around with different concepts and truly refine where he wants to go. That’s my hope. You can only play chicken for so long before the other person stops playing. I surely don’t hope fans give up on him, but it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility.
Yet, maybe he’s okay with that. Maybe he just wants to produce, write for others, and stay out of the spotlight. He had a solid run, though we all know it could’ve been bigger and better. It’s no secret being an artist weighs heavily on the mental, and all of the things we perceive as glamorous or lit could actually be cries for help. His silence could be saying more than we really understand. That’s the beauty of this industry. You never really know what’s going on, but Party we need you back. With an album. Pullup.