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How Rihanna’s “Work” Belonged To PartyNextDoor

PartyNextDoor, a respected figure in the music industry, is known for his significant contributions to the world of R&B and hip-hop. If you weren’t aware, one of his most notable achievements is the creation of Rihanna’s hit single, “Work,” which he initially recorded with Drake. Today, we’ll look back into the journey of the song “Work,” examining the creative process and while empathizing the magic that can happen when notable musicians collaborate.

PartyNextDoor is a Canadian singer, songwriter, and record producer. He is a signee of Drake’s OVO Sound label, a partnership with Warner Bros, which started in 2013. Since then, PartyNextDoor has contributed to every Drake release and has steadily produced his own music, characterized by its nocturnal R&B vibe. Despite his preference for a low-key approach, the success of his work, especially with high-profile artists like Drake, Rihanna, and others, has garnered him success as more than a songwriter in the music industry. 

The Genesis of “Work”

When social media talks about their favorite memories of 2016, “Work” is a track that has garnered international acclaim, topping the charts and becoming a staple in the pop and hip-hop music scene. The track was initially conceived by PartyNextDoor, who wrote the song’s catchy, island-inflected melody.

Initially, he was humbled by his role. “The first feeling I got was, ‘Why am I here?’ All these guys have made hits already,” he recollected. However, he was determined to create streamlined songs for the pop icon, which required a different creative process than his usual at-home productions.

Despite the song’s evident Caribbean influence, Rihanna’s label was initially skeptical about the track. PartyNextDoor and Drake had even considered keeping it for themselves or offering it to Alicia Keys. However, Rihanna’s team warmed up to the song when it became an inescapable tune around her house.

“She fought for it,” he continued as the song was well received by the people around Rihanna at the time. The rest, as they say, is history.

The Unexpected Success of “Work”

“Work” quickly climbed the charts to become one of the biggest hits of 2016. The track reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, marking Rihanna’s fourteenth No.1 single and Drake’s second, and stayed at the top for nine consecutive weeks. I mean, how could it miss with the success both artists had by the time the song was released. 

Despite the song’s massive success, and looking back at the interviews and articles at the time, PartyNextDoor revealed that people often misunderstood the song’s true essence. He explained that while many people viewed “Work” as a party anthem, it was actually a breakup song. “I tried this year to make the party songs. It wasn’t in me,” he confessed. “People think [‘Work’ is] a party song. It’s a breakup song. It’s blues.” Totally believable if you actually listen to PND’s music as it makes you miss your third grade crush, not pop a bottle of champagne.

The Role of Alicia Keys in The “Work” Narrative

Interestingly, Alicia Keys was initially considered for the island melody of “Work.” The idea was to bring a different flavor to the track, potentially introducing a new sound to Keys’ discography. The more we think about it, the more we cannot picture it. However, ultimately, the track found its home with Rihanna, whose Caribbean roots resonated well with the song’s sound. 

PartyNextDoor’s Thoughts on “Work” and Beyond

Even with the success of “Work,” PartyNextDoor has maintained a humble outlook. He acknowledged that while the song became a major hit for Rihanna and Drake, it was just another addition to his creative portfolio. “It’s a moment for Rihanna and Drake. I want to invest time in creating moments for myself,” was the quote from articles back in 2016. He has since continued to produce music under his own name, further establishing himself as a formidable artist in the music industry. His albums are a nice peaceful listen if you haven’t given them a chance. 

PartyNextDoor’s partnership with Drake has been mutually beneficial. “I openly share music with Drake, especially when it’s time for him to have a project,” he said. He also added that having a mentor like Drake to text anytime is a blessing. They work in harmony, each playing his role, each contributing to the other’s success while maintaining their individual identities.

As for his collaboration with Drake, PartyNextDoor has written songs like “With You” and “Preach,” contributing to a particular sound that characterizes Drake’s music. His contributions goes past his work with Drake whether it is writing of with a feature. He also wrote “Sex With Me,” another hit for Rihanna as well as DJ Khaled’s “Shining,” featuring Beyoncé and Jay Z. PartyNextDoor contributed to creating both of these tracks showing his range as a songwriter.

Throughout his career, PartyNextDoor has proven his skill and versatility as a songwriter and artist. His work on “Work” and other successful tracks has earned him a spot among the top contributors to the contemporary R&B and hip-hop music scene. As he continues to produce music and collaborate with other artists, we can only anticipate more incredible music that makes us miss girls we have never met. 


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