2016 was a significant year in many ways. It was Obama’s last year in office, Britain voted to leave the European Union, and the crisis in the Middle East only got worse. But amidst all the tragedy, artists from all genres delivered in a way that gave us hope for society and humanity as a whole. Case in point: Kaytranada‘s ‘99.9%’ debut album.
Prior to its release, I have been a major fangirl. His hypnotizing remixes on Soundcloud caught my attention in 2012 and I’ve been hooked ever since. In a crowd full of electronic and Hip-Hop producers, his production sticks out to me. There is nothing like it. He is a great student to the artistry, creating distinct drum techniques that quickly labeled this sound as his own.
Kaytranada already had the ability to bring large crowds of people to the dance floor. Now, we can count on him for soothing sounds.
The evolution in his music is evident in ‘99.9%.’ The Haitian-born, Montreal-raised artist toyed around with different sounds in this album, each track taking listeners by surprise. Kaytranada already had the ability to bring large crowds of people to the dance floor. Now, we can count on him for soothing sounds. With tracks like ‘Got it Good,’ Kaytranada recruits an early ’00s favorite, Craig David, creating one of the stand-out R&B tracks of the year. The jazz baseline accompanied by the house drums, along with Craig’s comforting vocals, made this the perfect soundtrack for a cool summer night. The 23-year-old also teamed up with underground rap veteran Phonte, from Little Brother and Foreign Exchange, for a fun disco-inspired bounce track ‘One Too Many.’ As a fan of these two Hip-Hop groups, it was a very special moment to hear these two collaborate. This proves that Kaytranada has a great ear for timeless sounds.
The features on this album were so appropriate and ideal. Syd The Kid, Goldlink, AlunaGeorge, Vic Mensa, and Little Dragon all did justice on Kaytra’s production. Anderson .Paak showed us how comfortable he is on a Kaytranada track, rapping and singing effortlessly on ‘Glowed Up.’ .Paak’s hazy voice meshed well with the track’s mellow feel.
Each of these features delivered a sound that none of us have heard before, pushing their voices a bit outside of their comfort zone. This ultimately created a vibrant and wholesome body of work. ‘99.9%’ came through with musicality, bursting with melodies, bass, house drums, and colorful rhythmic ideas. It’s a feel-good album, it’s different, it’s a celebration. Thank you, Kaytranada.