JD Era - Break From Toronto (Remix)

Toronto native (and Raekwon signee) JD Era comes through with a remix of PARTYNEXTDOOR’s single, in another show of appreciation for the young R&B star’s excellent track (and album).

The instrumental is left largely intact, save for a couple of looped sections to extend it out a little further, which is no bad thing as the crunching bassline of this one has yet to grow boring in my world. JD’s raps aren’t bad at all, and though (much like MeLo-X’s remix) they aren’t as addictive as the rap/singing hybrid that PND offers, as an independent performance it’s a good showing: the flows are varied yet with an unerring tightness, and the raps themselves are packed with touches of cool and flashes of aggression. Lyrically, it’s the expected arrogant raps, as per the original, and it’s fair to say that JD Era does make the most of what he’s working with here, in terms of the thunderous production. Worth a go if you liked the original, or if the original was “too R&B” for you.

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MeLo-X-Break From Flatbush

PARTYNEXTDOOR’s self-titled album/mixtape is easily one of the most underrated projects this year, and whilst Break From Toronto was recently given the video treatment, it’s probably fair to say that amongst those who did enjoy PND’s project, that track gets a little underappreciated as it’s rather short. Nonetheless, MeLo takes it for a spin here, and gives some extra shine to what is an excellent production.

No surprise with the formula: the atmospheric yet bassy sound of the original is completely intact, and MeLo just chooses to kick some rhymes over the top, throwing forth some fairly solid work that works well with the slow pace of the production. Whilst it’s missing that mix of both rapping and singing that PND offers, MeLo’s raps are generally clever and he switches through a handful of flows to offer a little variety. Nothing complicated, but a good remix and nice appreciation for an overlooked gem. MeLo’s GOD: Pièce de Résistance is available now.

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PARTYNEXTDOOR-Break From Toronto (Video)

Since PND’s self-titled album release in July, I can honestly say that I’ve had no less than 9 of the project’s tracks on a very regular rotation. Given that it’s only a 10-track album, that is an incredible ratio that betters almost any other album this year. Arguably, two of the three efforts he released ahead of the album (Make A Mil, Wus Good/Curious) were the weakest of the bunch (though the latter is still very good), and it seems like a bit of faith paid off as the rest of the LP thoroughly delivered.

Whilst this is one of the shorter tracks on the album, it’s still a strong example of what he’s all about. The production has atmosphere in abundance, combined with a thudding bass that adds a strong hip-hop flavour to the otherwise soulful soundscape, and hence the track ends up landing in the hallowed middle ground between laidback listening and speaker-crunching head-nodder. That versatility ends up amplifying PND’s own adaptability, as he switches between the rapped verse and brief sung hook with relative ease- the video’s final third gives his Autotuned singing a little more spotlight too, borrowing a snippet from the aforementioned Wus Good/Curious. The clip plays on the track’s atmospheric vibe with a nightime city setting, whilst the arrogant lyrics are reflected in the various activities taking place. Frankly, it’s good camera time for Drake’s young protege, and hopefully there’s more coming in 2014. For now, get that album.

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The newest member of October’s Very Own, and an act who seems to be developing a decent following with his exploits in the R&B scene. The Drake association doesn’t hurt either.

His material was a little sketchy at first, but the two most recent releases have found favour within my library, and both feature on this debut project of his. The Autotunes R&B stylings of the 10-track project certainly won’t be to everyone’s taste, but his production choices fit perfectly within the atmospheric sound associated with the OVO label, and hence they tend to provide enough quality to paper over any cracks in the vocal output. Even then, often the digitised vocals end up wearing the listener down, and you’ll eventually come around to the relatively unique blend between the sharp vocal layers and spaced-out productions. You can stream and download the project for free below, or support the cause and buy the LP on iTunes now.


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PARTYNEXTDOOR-Over Here ft. Drake

The first of four releases from Drake last night, along with the announcement that his Nothing Was The Same album is due for a 17th September release. Roughly translated, that’s far enough away to let Jay-Z take the summer. Also revealed was the OVO Sound label imprint, with an accompanying website, a label which PND is a part of- his debut mixtape is due out on 1st July, and this latest release should amp up that buzz considerably.

It’s another solid R&B release from PARTYNEXTDOOR, with a likeable production that contrasts atmospheric synths with tribal-style percussion for a mellow sound with a little liveliness thanks to those drums. There’s almost something ‘island’ about certain elements of the beat, and when combined with those sombre synths, it creates a nighttime beach vibe that’s easy to enjoy. PND’s vocals are again heavily Autotuned though not distractingly so, with their sharp, digitised nature not taking too much away from his synergy with that backdrop, whilst Drake’s verse is a welcome break from PND’s computerised crooning. A relatively easygoing R&B jam that Drake fans should enjoy.

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PARTYNEXTDOOR-Wus Good / Curious

The power of good headphones/speakers. I gave this a quick listen through my laptop speakers earlier, only to dismiss it as a cheap Future knock-off, and nothing I’d likely give much time in the future. It’s since returned to my ears via a shuffle, this time with headphones on, and it’s being repeated as you read this.

So, PARTYNEXTDOOR is part of Drake’s October’s Very Own imprint, a connection announced a short while back. Whilst I wasn’t into his previous release, this is one that should command more attention, and at the heart of it is a slow, nighttime production that’s right out of the OVO playbook. The self-produced effort is made up of pillowy bass and several interlocking layers of gentle melodies, each helping create a layer of depth that adds a ton of atmosphere to the backdrop, and allowing PND to get away with things a little on the vocals. An odd choice of terms, but it’s a heavily Autotuned performance that would otherwise grate on me, but the cooling nature of the production completely tempers its sharp edges, and hence it’s far more listenable than most Autotuned R&B, and yes, significantly better than Future’s pointless drawl. Progression from the newcomer, and hopefully it continues.

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