bLAck pARty has had a popping SoundCloud page for years. He has used it to repost his production work on other artists’ tracks (most notably Kari Faux’s “No Small Talk”), toss on some demos and compile beat tapes. He released his first album through Childish Gambino’s Wolf & Rothstein imprint on RCA Records in 2016, titled Mango.
However, what really spiked my interest in bLAck pARty’s music was a demo he posted of a song called “Smoke Break” back in 2017. While the song was originally marked as a demo, it has since been renamed on his SoundCloud as “Smoke Break I” – “Smoke Break II” being featured on his new album, Endless Summer. The newer version features the same pitched-up refrain with an incredibly catchy melody: “I just need a smoke break, just to calm my nerves / I just need to go away, somewhere from far here”. It’s a simple yet loaded sentiment, and the simplicity of the demo’s production made it seem like it was created out of an urgent need for escape into music, or anything. “Smoke Break II” makes the chill tune even chiller: the drums are toned down, a wobbly and lethargic bassline is added, and he sings another verse in his regular, breathy manner. This song captures the spirit of the project as well as the cover and title do. It uses mellowed-out funk and neo-soul to create an atmosphere in which you can be at your most comfortable, without feeling any need to contemplate an escape.