Moments before meeting Malik Flint, better known as rapper, singer, and producer bLAck pARty, I’m introduced to his loyal fans.
It’s a Monday evening in mid-June, and I’m waiting to meet him outside of The Seville—an intimate lounge nestled at the bottom floor of The James hotel in Manhattan where RCA’s Black Music Month event is taking place—when a small legion of his supporters arrive at the entrance. They know about the private event because bLAck pARty accidentally shared the address on his Instagram page a few hours before the show, and they came here with a mission to sneak inside.
“Sometimes, I forget that I’m a recognizable figure now,” he tells me later. “I be walking down the street and someone will stop me like, ‘Yo, aren’t you bLAck pARty!’” Even though he has a long evening ahead of him, he still makes sure to take a picture with every fan.
His fans came here on a Monday afternoon to try and hear songs from his upcoming third studio album, Hummingbird, because bLAck pARty makes music that fits perfectly into their daily routines. “I just like making life music,” he explains. “One of my favorite artists is Al Green, and my pops used to always talk about how my family would play his albums front-to-back at home because it was just life music. It was music to live to, and that’s the ethos that I use in the approach to my own work.”
With some guidance from his RCA and Wolf + Rothstein mentor and good friend Donald Glover (who signed him to the label in 2019), bLAck pARty shaped Hummingbird throughout three years of living, learning, and experiencing new things. Like Glover, he had his newborn child while working on the album, and he learned how to balance the new responsibilities of fatherhood with music by watching Donald do it first. “[Donald] had a kid while he was working on Awaken, My Love!, so I was able to get a preview of that,” bLAck pARty explains. “All of these things are terrifying, so having someone who’s doing well at balancing all of these things and is successful is great.”
From embracing tender and rejuvenating sounds on his debut album Mango, to distilling the blossoming energy of day parties and the warmer months into 10 tracks on Endless Summer, the rising artist has always been focused on making music that doesn’t have a short shelf-life, and Hummingbird is no different.
Following the release of his new single “On My Way,” bLAck pARty caught up with Complex to discuss the process of making Hummingbird, which is due to release on July 14. We also spoke about the significance of its name, what he’s learned from Donald Glover, and more. The interview, lightly edited for clarity, is below.