bLAck pARty is here to bless the music industry with his undeniable charm and unique sound. His name is stylized specifically showcasing his journey from Arkansas (AR) to Los Angeles (LA), always representing where he’s from and where he is now.
The Little Rock native started his journey playing trumpet in middle school, before teaching himself how to play guitar, keyboards, bass, and even engineering and recording in high school. Senior year, he formed his rap-rock group Flint Eastwood, where he was the lead vocalist and rapper. Fast forward to last year, he released his debut project Endless Summer, via Wolf + Rothstein/RCA Records.
Real name Malik Flint describes bLAck pARty as “a pseudonym that represents a celebration for all the dope black musical contributions in the world.” With that comes experimentation in his own coined genre tropical funk: a blend of reggae, dancehall, and tropical tones.
His biggest single to date includes “Dancing,” which hails over 2.3 million views and counting in less than a year. Flaunt caught up with Flint who was quarantined in the lab in Long Beach to discuss getting noticed by Donald Glover for his production with Kari Faux, the creation of “Dancing,” relationship with Issa Rae, and more!
Being from Little Rock, Arkansas, how does that play into your life and career?
It was cool. Arkansa has a lot of different energy. The environment’s a lot different than a lot of other places, a lot of big cities like LA or NY. Everything’s slower. It’s a whole different world I feel.
Describe the culture there.
Because of where we are in the country, we’re surrounded by a lot of other places like New Orleans, Memphis, Dallas, and Houston. We’re a melting pot of all of those cultures. Food is a big culture. Arkansas is actually the home of rock n’ roll. A lot of music’s roots come from Arkansas. The core soul, blues, and funk, a lot of those influences come from Arkansas.
When did you know you wanted to do music as a career?
About 16 or 17 is actually when I started taking it seriously. I was actually recording. I had made beats since middle school, I was in band. When I started making my own music, that was towards high school.
I know you were in a band but when did you go solo?
I started making music under bLAck pARty when I turned 21. I had left my band Flint Eastwood, we had broken up. That’s when I had ventured into my next stage of trying to figure out what I was going to do musically.
Was that scary for you?
It wasn’t scary, it was more everything is all on me now. In a band, you’re sharing responsibilities. You’re sharing different ideas. When it’s just you, you’re responsible for all the decisions that are made. It’s intense, but it’s also freeing in the same sense.
How did you land at Donald Glover’s label?
I actually landed there because of Phan, who’s the head of Wolf & Rothstein. We connected over Twitter. He hit me up about a record I’d produced, “No Small Talk” by Kari Faux. At the time the record was buzzing, so I sent over some beats for Donald. I sent him 20 to 30 beats. We kept up a friendly working rapport, checking in and seeing how everybody’s doing. Then Phan and Donald came to Arkansas to meet me and Kari, we showed them around the city. We went out to Atlanta and met with them again. From that point on, we’re working with them.
How does that feel? Donald’s one of the biggest artists in the world.
It’s super dope to be around somebody who’s doing a lot of different creative things in different avenues. Seeing somebody who’s able to manage all that and do it well is super dope to experience. It’s almost like getting a full college course just from observation.
What’s the dynamic with Kari Faux in the studio?
I’ve literally known her since I started making music. We have a small scene back home so everybody who made music pretty much knew each other. We have a pretty good team. A lot of people use to compare us to Timbaland and Missy because we have that chemistry in the studio. I can make a beat or she can come up with an idea, I can clean it up. I’ll start an idea, she’ll finish it. It’s fun music-making basically. We’ll experiment but with everything, we keep it fun. The music always ends up being cool.
Bring us back to when you were creating “Dancing.” Did you think it’d take off how it did?
Yes and no. Yes because I’m biased and I like my music. [laughs] No because the timing of everything. Everything about it was very DIY. Me and Dylan, a good friend of mine, had a couple ideas for the video and made it happen in a very short time stamp. It’s the biggest video I have so to see so many people like and enjoy it is actually really dope.
Best memory from the video shoot?
Really all of my friends showing up. I literally texted all of my friends to be in the video. As many people as I could, I said “yo I’m shooting a video, please come! I know it’s last minute.” My good friend Justin, the one doing the comedic banter in the video, I hit him up last minute like “yo please, I need you to be in this video.” Justin’s one of the funniest people I know, I needed him to be there for comedic relief. Really having fun with everybody because sometimes, videos can be work work work. I like any job I do to be fun. The fact we’re able to kick back, laugh, and have fun but still get the job done was my favorite part.
You’ve been locked in the studio in Long Beach creating. How’s that creative process been?
It’s dope. I honestly feel like I’m connected to water. I have to be near a lake, a river, or an ocean, absolutely. It’s been good. This whole crisis has given me time to sit back and reanalyze how I approach music. Where my music is going now, I feel more proud about it than I have in the past.
What inspires you most?
Honestly life: being around people, friends, conversation. Love, missing people, being homesick. All the experiences of our existence inspires me to make music.
3 things you need in the studio?
Hot tea, I need a guitar, and weed. I need weed.
What does it mean to have your music featured on Insecure?
Shout out to Issa Rae. I met Issa through the internet a couple years back, she ended up being a fan of the music. I was super surprised because my dad had shown me her show [Awkward Black Girl] when it was on YouTube years ago, I thought it was really dope. Issa ended up reaching out to Kari who I was working with at the time, I executive produced her album Lost En Los Angeles. Issa had met with Kari and said “we want to use a bunch of records from the album on the show.” From that point, we built a relationship. I did original scoring for the second season and the third season, my song is on there. The episode where she’s skinny-dipping.
What was your reaction? That’s such a dope look.
It was pretty crazy, I was in disbelief. [laughs]
What goals do you have for yourself?
I’d like to travel more, perform more places once the world opens up again. I’d like to work with more people and artists that I admire. I always wanted to be in a magazine, never been in a magazine.
What can we look forward to music-wise?
Working on an album right now. Working on putting a couple more singles and visuals out.