Meet bLAck pARty
Originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, bLAck pARty moved to Los Angeles in 2014 (hence the name) to pursue his career in music and work with longtime collaborator Kari Faux, who is part of the Royalty family put together by Childish Gambino. With an 80s style funk sound paired with contemporary trap music, bLAck pARty has continued to build his journey as a singer, songwriter, and producer.
Milk caught up with the rising artist to discuss his songwriting process, upcoming collaborations and living in California.
Thanks for sitting down with me, Malik. I’m fairly new to your story so could you tell me a little more about yourself?
Thank you for having me. I was an army brat so I’m a little bit from everywhere, but originally I’m from Arkansas. I used to be in rap groups all through high school but most of it was freestyle, no real method to the madness. I didn’t get into songwriting until I moved to LA in 2014.
Did you start in music through writing or producing?
I’ve been producing since I was 13, I started off giving beats to my friends. I was too shy to make my own music. It was like 2005 and Scott Storch was selling beats for like $100k, smoking weed all day, he drove the nicest car and I was just like, “THIS IS MY DREAM JOB.” Him, lil John, Kanye, the Neptunes, Alchemist; they were living the life in my eyes and they all inspired me.
I started off as a sample-based producer so a lot of what I did was tightly related to Kanye, alchemist, and even RZA. I study the music of many genres and pick out what I like from all and try to mesh things together. I feel art is borrowing from different places that inspire you and changing it to make it your own.
When do you feel your career began to gain traction?
In 2016, I produced a song for Kari Faux called “No Small Talk” and it went viral, then Childish Gambino remixed it and a bunch of other artists remixed it.
Shortly after I got the opportunity to work with Childish on his album Awaken My Love. We worked out of this house in Hollywood Hills. They would have writing sessions for the show Atlanta during the day and at night Childish would work on the album. I had my own room in there where I had my own drum set and everything.
After all that, I dropped my first project, Mango and the crazy thing about it was the timing. It dropped during elections and so it got buried in the press world, but slowly but surely it started picking up through word of mouth.
Has your process of making music changed over the years and did moving to California have any influence?
California is very sectioned off and everyone has their little groups. For the first time in my life, I had a lot of alone time and opportunity to reflect on what I wanted out of life and how I was feeling. It was beyond the surviving day to day life and that allowed me the space to ask myself “who am I?” That process of discovery is was what allowed me to be vulnerable and make music that came from a sincere place.
You say you started producing and rapping, what motivated you to begin singing?
Every project I approach with a purpose. The first mixtape I ever made was titled Prototype in 2014 and I wanted to make experimental southern rap music. Within that, there was one song in particular on which I sang; it was about Tumblr girls *laughs*.
I went to Atlanta for an Outkast, Kid Cudi, and Childish Gambino show. That was the first time I met them all and Childish was like, “yo I didn’t know you could sing!” At the time I was more known as a rapper and to have someone on that level compliment my singing did a lot for me. A month after that is when I moved to LA.
What would you define your genre in music as?
I’d call it Tropical Funk.
How does Endless Summer compare to your last, Mango?
I feel this project is more mature. Mango is more superficial, Endless Summer you get to know a little more about me. The intention of Mango was to make cool-sounding pop music. Endless Summer was more of me establishing this tropical funk sound and bring more musicality into it. There are no samples apart from the vocal features, everything else is originally recorded. Through the whole process I was thinking, how can I make the records that I like to sample? That was the intention.
“Spell” is the most musical song on the project and “No Complaints” is the one that I get into more vulnerable waters, and it’s my mom’s favorite laughs.
What are you working on now?
More music, TV, and movies. I’ve made music for shows like Insecure, Atlanta, High Maintenance; I wanna explore that some more and maybe try some acting.
Stay tuned to Milk for more music moments.