A few months ago, Blood Orange released Negro Swan, a poignant shimmer of a new album. Since then, mastermind Dev Hynes has turned every high-profile appearance into some kind of aesthetic statement. When Hynes performs on a TV show, he turns it into an event. That’s what he did last night on The Tonight Show, when he performed the Negro Swan single “Charcoal Baby.”
Onstage at The Tonight Show, Hynes performed against a neon-pink background, bathed in deep blue light. He’s got a full band, enough people to replicate the album’s lush and twinkly sound. (This was a song with a flute solo, and Hynes isn’t just going to play a flute-solo tape during a performance. He’s not the type.) But he also filled the stage with friends and well-wishers, enough to make it look as much like a party as a performance.
And Hynes also chose last night to release a radically-remade new version of the Negro Swan track “Smoke.” On the new version of the song, Hynes enlists the help of experimental producer Yves Tumor and R&B spirit-summoner Ian Isiah. He also includes a quick, monotonal rap verse in which he shouts out his late collaborator Mac Miller. Below, watch the “Charcoal Baby” performance and listen to the “Smoke” remix.
Negro Swan is out now on Domino. Shout out to Jimmy Fallon for being too uncomfortable to say the words “Negro Swan” on air.