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Black Dawn’s “Steppers Party (BD Slide)”

Old school beats have been making a big comeback lately, and this is especially evident when listening to a buzz-worthy single like Black Dawn’s “Steppers Party (BD Slide)” this autumn season. Although sporting a melodic disposition as firmly planted in the 21st century as the production quality is, there’s no debating whether or not the swing in this track is sourced right out of the New Edition playbook. There’s something bittersweet about the juxtaposition of yearning harmonies and robotic grooves in this piece, and yet the lyrics do not fail to translate as intentionally sugary no matter how many times I listen to them here. 

The instrumental melody is admittedly made smoother by its relationship with the vocal, and I like that there isn’t any resistance from the rhythm, either. There’s a very seamless feel to the bottom-end of the master mix specifically, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this gives “Steppers Party” a bass-dominated arrangement at all. Contrarily, because of how well integrated the instrumentation is with the structure of the verse, everything from the bassline to the beat to the synthetic ribbonry tying it together sounds like a joint force with our singer. 

As far as the raw vocal is concerned, the hook amounts to the most straightforward part of this song and arguably lends some consistency to a composition that would otherwise have quite the loose-fitting framework. There’s an experimental edge to the approach Black Dawn takes to this track both behind and in front of the mixing board, and still, I would be lying if I said that the production style was the most intriguing element of this release. The passion exists in every corner of this single and its companion video, which can’t be said for the vast majority of indie content coming down the pipes this September. 

This groove frames the lyrical substance perfectly, and the music video is a really fun accompaniment to the song that doesn’t overstate any particular aesthetical influences in the least. Keeping it simple can have a lot of benefits, especially when spotlighting legit talent is the goal, and I think that Black Dawn nails it with “Steppers Party” in this regard. They’re not overthinking the process, nor the final product they’re trying to produce – they’re just giving us cut and dry melodicism with a message, which is as simple a pop formula as they come. 

If you need that OG party vibe to get your fall started the right way, I think that you’re going to find “Steppers Party (BD Slide)” to be one of the more compelling go-to jams currently on record store shelves this month. There’s a lot of competitive spirit emerging from the progressive R&B underground at the moment, but in terms of throwbacks that are okay to get excited about, this piece from Black Dawn is a hard number to top. It demonstrates what this act’s sound is all about and what can be done with something others would deem too barebones to be a hit. 

Mindy McCall

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