How Rihanna Ended Up on PartyNextDoor’s ‘Believe It’
Last November, the producer Ninetyfour was eagerly expecting his first major-label placement. “I was supposed to be on the Game’s album,” Ninetyfour recalls. “They asked us to do the paperwork, ASCAP information, ‘Bet, we’re gonna be on the album.’ It comes down to it — it’s not on there. That was supposed to be my first one, so I was kind of devastated. My spirits was low.”
He rebounded in emphatic fashion on Thursday night when the R&B singer PartyNextDoor put out his new album, Partymobile: Along with Bizness Boi and Cardiak, Ninetyfour co-produced “Believe It,” a punchy ballad featuring the first new Rihanna vocals to be released since 2017. It’s expected to be the next PartyNextDoor single, and Rihanna’s presence on the hook practically assures that it will be a commercially auspicious debut for Ninetyfour.
Like many contemporary productions, the instrumental for “Believe It” lived an exciting life before settling down on Partymobile. The song was started by Cardiak (Drake’s “With You,” Tank’s “When We”), who created the intertwining guitar and pitched-up vocal sample that makes up the spine of the track. He then sent it to Bizness Boi, who was in Paris for a writing camp at the time .
“It was a writing camp with American producers and French producers,” Bizness Boi recalls. “We went over to work on some of their big artists. I pulled [Cardiak’s beat] and started working on it for an artist there, I forget his name. He was messing with it for a while, but in the end he wanted to go in a different direction.”
Undeterred, Bizness Boi sent the “Believe It” demo to Ninetyfour. He had known the producer since 2013 — Bizness Boi prides himself on keeping an ear out for young talent, and both men are from Milwaukee. He signed Ninetyfour roughly a year ago. “I wanted to help someone from my city that was dope on the production side,” Bizness Boi says. “I like his drums, his sample choices, how quickly he works. I send him ideas; he sends them right back.”
Sure enough, Ninetyfour fleshed out the “Believe It” skeleton quickly, turning it into a song just waiting for a singer. Another friend recommended that Bizness Boi send it to PartyNextDoor — the two have had a steady working relationship since collaborating on four songs from the 2016 album P3. “The next thing I know [‘Believe It’] is on [PartyNextDoor’s] Snapchat,” Bizness Boi says.
Getting Rihanna involved was the final piece of the puzzle. PartyNextDoor has a lucrative sideline writing and producing for other artists; he co-wrote Rihanna’s Number One hit “Work,” the double-platinum “Sex With Me,” and the quintuple-platinum “Wild Thoughts.” Although her last feature appearance was on N.E.R.D.’s 2017 track “Lemon,” PartyNextDoor was able to coax her into harmonizing with him on “Believe It.” Placeholder vocals were originally cut by PartyNextDoor’s girlfriend, according to Bizness Boi, and Rihanna didn’t send over her contribution until Monday.
Instead of asking PartyNextDoor to send a preview of the completed song, Bizness Boi and Ninetyfour waited like everybody else for “Believe It” to arrive on streaming services at midnight. “It’s like Christmas,” Ninetyfour says. “You’re a young kid waiting for that present, you wake up, and it’s just there.”
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