WHO IS THE PARTYNEXTDOOR?
It’s difficult to not reconcile the notion that his music has similar rhythmic and vocal elements as The Weeknd—many other publications haven’t failed to make that comparison either. Jahron Brathwaite (19-years old) and his stage moniker, PARTYNEXTDOOR, were names that have been brought up to me very recently.
I was unfamiliar, but naturally curious. With some research, there isn’t much to say about this musician yet that hasn’t already been said about The Weeknd at his inception. PARTYNEXTDOOR is a young and inspired R&B singer/song-writer that has taken the initiative to produce his own music and reach out to his audience without the mean middlemen of the media empire.
By using the power of social media to grant him unfettered access to distribute his self-titled mix tape, it has also earned him a much coveted endorsement; an open seat—once reserved for Abel Tsefaye—at the OVO dinner table. It’s thought out that the entrée served that evening was a well-done record deal with a premium Habanos cigar on the side, paired with a glass of French Red,let’s say a serving of Domaine Romanee Conti 1997. It’s obvious that Drake knew how to close and so Drake closed. Jahron Brathwaite (a.k.a PARTYNEXTDOOR) became the first official signee to the OVO record label.
After a casual listen to this mix tape, I've become uninterested. The 10-song mix tape opens with a track unoriginally titled, “Welcome To The Party.” The recording begins with a wordless, auto-tune infused, vocal rehearsal that has you already rolling your eyes, as it showcases no innate vocal skill or purpose. It is shortly after, that PARTYNEXTDOOR begins his lyrical storytelling, “Yeah, its Sauga at sunset, marijuana in the complex…” The first lines were a direct shout-out to his hometown [also my own], Mississauga, and a passage to a psychoactive event at his house. In a two minute duration, the song quickly summarizes more of the adventure-less night; where guests are exposed to be severely intoxicated, have unrestrained bi-curious group sex, and listen to loud music until sun rises again the morning after.
The second tune, “Wild Bitches”, PARTYNEXTDOOR introduces to us an immoral (possibly fictional) caucasian female from Atlanta who was raised by a stripper and a pimp, and is related to a murderous cousin. Careless of her family upbringing and sinful attitude, PARTYNEXTDOOR is in love, from Mississauga to Atlanta (approx. 1500 Km + toll fees). Taking note he will buy anything for this girl, the song unfortunately doesn’t conclude with your typical happy ending. The girl from Atlanta is described to be wild and unfaithful, but PARTYNEXTDOOR doesn’t have a care in the world and continues to pursue her with his friends. Further on, PARTYNEXTDOOR continues his admiration for his hometown in the mid-album feature, “Break From Toronto.” The tune illustrates a story of how he is set to convince a Toronto city girl that Mississauga’s nightlife can be made interesting with him around. It’s easy to argue that our mutual hometown wasn’t developed to have any real entertainment value, as the large municipality is consumed with suburban homes.
However, the artist doesn’t shy away from revealing how a night at an erotic venue would make the perfect date night; “This is what Sauga feels like in the night time. Watch what she doin’ when the light shines…” Completely defined in poor-taste of what a well-disposed community could actually represent, the thought behind the song would be received more ignorantly, than with pride. It’s not until the second to last song where PARTYNEXTDOOR’s liberal and impassioned founder, Drake, makes an appearance on, “Over Here” (better late than never, though never late is better, right?). Between both Drake and him, each of their respective verse shares a similar context: how carefree life can be when you have copious amounts of money in hand.
PARTYNEXTDOOR also raps a desperate call to a current lover, requesting her to be patient because success and money is to be earned in time, and he will, one day, provide her the material things that would generate her [and him] undeniable happiness. In closing, Brathwaite’s decision to repeatedly convince his listeners that he lives a lifestyle of luxury and emotional struggle with fictional characters on this inaugural release, seems to have been the appropriate tactic to score a reputable record deal, but not to maximize on the possibility of having real public interest and respect. Where Brathwaite lacks in sonic imagination, he gains with youth and position. Having everything to prove as the first official signee to a label that could spearhead a new generation of Canadian music, he has the time and the support to bring something more palatable to the dinner table.