2013. A simpler time. Back when Barack Obama had just started his second term in office. Instagram baddies hadn’t begun selling FitTea, just asking us if we were ready to “#WakeUpNow”. We hadn’t yet begun to communicate exclusively in memes and reaction pictures, they were just an added cherry on top of a funny conversation. Also, it was the year Jahron Anthony Braithwaite aka PARTYNEXTDOOR broke out into the contemporary R&B scene. If you had asked me back then, I would have said to you that he was poised to take over for the foreseeable future. But now it’s 2017 and it’s all fucked up. We got a thicc ass sentient carrot as President. Your favorite Instagram model probably already been nipped, tucked to Bolivian and selling diarrhea teas. The English language has evolved (devolved?) into a combination of whatever keys the Apple iPhone English and Emoji keyboards provide, refried memes, and dead Vines. Most importantly, the OVO Sweatshop has claimed another career and that’s why I’m writing you today. Join me, as I examine and ultimately try to answer: “Where the PARTY At?”
2013, the height of my Tumblr career. The year I was introduced to PARTYNEXTDOOR. As with my guy Johnny Cinco, it started out as a recommendation I wasn’t listening to in the slightest. My fellow #DamnBlog colleagues Derrick and Marquis had been posting PND’s two singles from his upcoming self-titled debut EP/Mixtape/Album all over the dash. I, as usual, don’t listen when people tell me to listen because fuck you. I did however appreciate the cover art for the singles “Make A Mil” and “Wus Good/Curious”, so I made a mental note to revisit his music later on. July, 1st; a date I’ll never forget (mainly because it’s a very easy date to remember and it’s three days away from July 4th) PND did a late night release and his music begins to flood my dash. Usually I’m not one for first release hyperbole, it ruins the artist for me. In this case, something told me to mosey on down to HotNewHipHop and see what’s up with the what’s up.
After pressing play on the first track “Welcome To The Party”, I was instantly transported to Mississauga, Ontario, Canada’s finest middle class apartment complex. Only PND could make middle class living in a Toronto suburb sound lavish as fuck. The rest of the tape didn’t disappoint either, it included one of the best four song stretches I’ve ever heard with “Make A Mil”, “Break From Toronto”, “TBH” & “Wus Good/Curious”. The penultimate song was a timeless bop from PND featuring OVOverlord Aubrey “Drake” Graham aka Drizzy Drake Rogers aka Mr. Houstonatlantavegas. “Over Here” is one of them songs where you really gotta be a grinch to hate. If I could edit that video of Bow Wow dancing to “Energy” to this song, it would have saved me this entire paragraph. To close out the mixtape, PND hit us with “Ballin” and if you’ve listened the song you know why I felt disgusted after finishing the tape, but at the same I can still say every track on there is a 10/10.
After, giving a second listen through, then a third, a fourth, a fifth, etc., I immediately downloaded it and added it to my iPhone to join other 2013 classics like “1017 Thug”, “Dolo”, “Owl Pharaoh” & “While You Wait…” to add to my summer soundtrack. Instantly, I knew I would fuck with it forever when I listened to it during Fourth of July celebrations. With Tory Lanez dropping “Conflicts of My Soul” later that summer, Drake dropping “Nothing Was The Same” the month after and The Weeknd dropping “Kiss Land” in October, my allegiances switched from the US to Canada. Once I heard BBK associate Drakkar Noir on Beyoncé’s “Mine”, I started scheduling my Canadian citizenship test.
My fandom got so serious I let some BK random on DatPiff fool me into thinking that the songs on the fan made compilation “Saturday Nights” was new music. In reality, they were just songs PND released before he was PND and when he was a portly young bul whose stage name was simply, “Jahron B.”. While these songs weren’t bad, they weren’t good enough to get me through the first half of 2014. That’s why I was so incensed when he finally dropped a single for the forthcoming *A$AP Ferg definition* “PARTYNEXTDOOR TWO” named “Her Way”. You mean to tell me I wait almost a year for new music? Then it’s trash? This was my first warning, strike one. Like a true fan, I cried and stayed, because the next month he had me right back with “Recognize”. Another fire collaboration with OVOverload XXXTentacion Jr. aka The Count of Calabasas aka The Captain of The Turles Crusher Corps. I couldn’t believe the way he managed to get me grooving again in the summer, thinking about girls who don’t want me. I found his ability to create the mood for the summer simply amazing and couldn’t wait for “PND TWO” to drop.
I should have waited though. July 29th came, a little later than last years installment, still welcome because new music. I gave it a few listen throughs and knew it wasn’t up to par but it could still ride to and from work. I should have known this nigga was on nut shit because he begins the first track “East Liberty” by saying “The summers over”. Now according to my calculations, if this album comes out July 29th, we still got a month and some change left before summer is truly over. I don’t know what kinda OVO Calculators they got over at the OVO Sweatshop to get the OVO Calculations done (Word to Rob), but clearly Jahron’s time in the OVO Wilderness had him losing track of time. This was strike two. Unlike his debut mixtape, his debut album did not bat 1.000 from the plate. Don’t listen to anyone telling you there are more than 6 good songs on “PND TWO”. “SLS”, “Sex On The Beach”, “Grown Woman”, “FWU”, “Recognize”, & “Bout It”. I’ll accept a switch out of any of those songs for “East Liberty”, “Her Way”, “Belong To The City”, & “Muse” because in the right mood, a mans can hit them high notes still. What I won’t accept is anyone telling me “Options” & “Thirsty” are good songs. They are the #They DJ Khaled warned us about, and coincidentally, they are also almost always the worst people you’ve ever known.
Nonetheless, I gave it tons of listens. That “Banco” & “Dolo II” were the albums that got me through that hot ass summer and working a shit job. When I added “Days Before Rodeo”, “Lost Cause” & “Tha Tour Pt.1” to the rotation, they helped me forget what it lacked. Probably why I bought tickets to PND’s show at SOB. I thought it would be as lit as Tory Lanez’ show at Webster Hall the week before. I was wrong. I’ll run down the highlights: 1) Rita Ora came. [She was looking scrumptious, I shoulda carried her wherever she wanted to go that night.] 2) Drake came thru to perform his verse on “Recognize” 3) I was able to get back in for thee free to see Shy Glizzy thanks to the hand stamp. Like a true Jamaican, he was late as fuck and had to run thru his set wild quickly. I didn’t get to shed the appropriate amount of tears I needed to and to this day mans mind is still #Vexed. I wanted to see him again after “PND COLOURS” dropped but 1) I didn’t wanna get finessed twice. 2) “PND COLOURS” was trash. 3) Every single nigga from KanyeToThe sold out the show before I could get tickets and I was jealous, so the first two reasons is what I told myself while I cried at home because FOMO.
After taking his talents on tour, I couldn’t blame PND for not holding the summer down for a third consecutive year. He left us with “Preach” & “Wednesday Night Interlude” on “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” so tings was blessed. What I can hold him to is not releasing ANY music in 2015. Not even a single mi bredda? How Sway? Only features? Nobody tryna sit through a Big Sean album full of “Lil bitch” & “Oh god” just to hear my guy croon. I damn sure wasn’t listening to no damn OVO Stragglers (*cough* *cough* P Reign *cough* *cough*) to hear some singing. If it wasn’t for me coming across Amir Obè later on in the year, hearing “Truth for You” & “I’m Good” on “Happening in the Grey Area”, I don’t know what I woulda done. That was strike three.
I was officially finished with PND. Apparently, Drake was finished with him too and put him on permanent time out at the OVO Campsite once 2016 came around. He was relegated to reference track duties and ghost writing after Quentin Miller got the bounce from the whole Meek Mill manslaughter. Then came the pump faking of the dropping of “PARTYNEXTDOOR 3” for half the year. Once I saw Rihanna getting his tracks so Drake could smash and Drake taking the rest for “Views”, I knew he was a finished somebody. I urged him to keep it, especially after hearing that nonsense that was “Come and See Me”. Even the tried and true Drake collab fell flat. Drake left him the scraps for his second album and PARTY with his OMO Affiliates got into the studio, took every single drug to try and salvage whatever “PX3” was.
It was dead on arrival, Wednesday, August 12th, 2016 12:00:00 AM. The saddest part wasn’t the unintelligible mess on the album, but him tryna recreate that magic he had on “Work” with “Not Nice” & “Only U”. Like, damn my guy that’s where you are now? It was made worse by the fact that his age mates (Roy Wood$ & Tory Lanez) were making hits with the same formula. To add insult to injury, his features on “Views” & “More Life” were trash too and Drake was doing numbers solo dolo without him on “Controlla” & “One Dance”. The OVOverlord done found a new source for his sound and after he ran PND dry thanks to the Tree of Might
That’s where we are now. 2017, and PND getting features on Nicki Minaj songs on Major Lazer albums or outshined by Zayn Malik on his lackluster One Direction-less album debut. It’s a sad state of affairs for the man. This is also the bed he chose to make. He saw how The Weeknd got half his album took for Take Care. He also saw how he got out while he could and decided to be Wal-Mart brand Michael Jackson for the big bucks and start his own label. That coulda been PND’s life, get the Drake co-sign, then leave to be Target brand Prince or some shit, and put his niggas on. Now he’s in the OVO Orphanage begging for food while his boys hover around him ready for the next feeding. His breasts done ran dry already, but they never grew to be strong enough to fend for themselves. Meanwhile, Drake just getting more and more brolic. Ignoring him to film Top Boy series three with BBK and Section Boyz.
Although, I would prefer he kept every song he made while under the OVO banner, I’ll still be screaming #FreePND til they free PND. Just like every other OVO protégé with fire on their résumé (Except dvsn. They can get kept). If Abel, Jimmy Prime, Makonnen and P-Reign can free themselves, so can PND. Also let’s get Majid Jordan & OB O’Brien outta there since they not doing shit, as well as Roy Wood$ before Drake’s scouter detects mans power levels and plants more Tree of Might seeds. Help me help free the guys. If you enjoyed my chronicles, throw up the #FreePND in your tweets. #FreeMajidJordan #FreeOB #FreeRoyWoods #FreeTheOVOSwestshop #BringBackOurArtists.