PARTYNEXTDOOR-PARTYNEXTDOORSometimes there’s nothing more intriguing than a homegrown product, as is the case with PARTYNEXTDOOR. With a sound similar to the Weeknd and Drake, Jahron Brathwaite, his government, is helping to define a Toronto hybrid hip-hop/R&B sound.

The Mississauga,Ont., native, whose buzz has skyrocketed since signing with October’s Very Own, has been appearing in the top rap blogs, and his eponymous mixtape debut has long been yearned for by hip-hop aficionados since he released ‘Make a Mil’ earlier this year. It’s a good listen with intriguing production.

Just like Drake and the Weeknd (the comparisons cannot be ignored), PARTYNEXTDOOR’s aesthetic is based on emotional evocation and recreating his experience for the listener. His sound is predicated on the aura of the club, a place he clearly frequents, according to his lyrics. Every moment is amplified with exaggerated sentiments. Lyrically, he might not be the next great poet, but his ruminations are a blunt and poignant reminder of what it means to be 19 years old. He bombards the listener with overwhelming emotional emanations from his inner thoughts and feelings, which bleeds into his production.

Brathwaite’s production is expressive and atmospheric. It’s R&B music tinged with EDM influences hitting the listener with low, rumbling, spaced-out bass lines and hazy synth work. The foundation of PARTYNEXTDOOR’s production principles are based on Noah “40” Shebib’s blueprint, taken from Drake’s ‘Marvin’s Room’.

PARTYNEXTDOORWhat separates his production style and what makes that style the strength of the album is his attention to the details in each track. While subtle, the accoutrements within his songs are reminiscent of Timbaland’s earlier work with Aaliyah. Bells, water drops, rattles, and barely perceptible laser sounds are just a few of the atypical sounds used to accent his production. They transform his songs by adding another dimension to the soundscape. Just by the fact he uses New Jack City-esque saxophone loops so liberally tells the listener he’s willing to go outside the box.

Tracks like ‘TBH’, ‘Right Now’, and ‘Wus Good/Curious’ are homages to his boss and the sound he’s developed. His versatility shows that he is more than adequate as a rapper and a singer, but also that he can walk the fine line of a melodic rapping delivery.

That versatility and production capability makes PARTYNEXTDOOR a fine addition to OVO. He fits in well with the aesthetic and sound that Drake has curated for his city. It shows with this mixtape, maybe, too much. Watch for his contribution to OVO in the future.

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