Kaytranada - 99.9%

Kaytranada – 99.9%

Kaytranada is a Canadian beatmaker, producer and DJ. Some people know him only as a producer, but to me he is first and foremost a beatmaker. He started really young, in his teens when his brother introduced him to FL Studio. He has a long list of mixtapes and EPs released but 99.9% are in his first album, and I must say it’s quite an album.

His album reminds me a lot of the greatest beatmaker ever, J Dilla, but it has a more electronic ring to it. I know most Dilla fans will want to hunt me down and kill me after that statement but Kaytranada is the Dilla of this generation, just to defend myself – Dilla is and always will be king of beatmaking but that doesn’t mean he is the only one out there.

You can hear that he is putting a lot of thought into his work, from the sound to the cover art. Every track can be played as background music at an after work party but you can also imagine it banging in a club setting. The track ‘Bus Ride’ has that jam sound to it with beautifully played drums by Karriem Riggins and it is exactly what you expect from the title of the song, perfect for a rainy bus ride. Craig David made his comeback like nobody else a few years ago thanks to BBC Live Lounge appearances (listen to his cover of Love Yourself of Justin Bieber). Kaytranada recognized that and made the perfect song for him “Got It Good” which sounds like an updated twentieth century Craig David.

AlunaGeorge and GoldLink came into the spotlight at approximately the same time as Kay, and both are familiar with his work as he remixed one of AlunaGeorge’s song and produced a track for GoldLink. This time they collaborated on the poppy and bouncy song ‘Together’ where Goldlink did the verses while AlunaGeorge used her voice in the chorus. While those songs have a European sound, ‘Drive Me Crazy’ featuring Vic Mensa sounds a lot more American with that trap flow to it, which I’m not the biggest fan of so most of the time I just skip that song.

BADBADNOTGOOD are known for their interpretations of hip hop songs, but they’re on point with their own songs too, just as on ‘Wight Off’ which is a little bit darker. Kay already said in one of his interviews that they recorded around 15 songs together, but sadly for the listeners only one made it onto the 99.9% album. ‘One Too Many’ can also be called Weekend because it’s all that weekends are made of: too much drinking and not enough sleep. My favourite is ‘Despite The Weather’ maybe because there are no vocals and you can hear everything that Kaytranada is about – grooves, bass lines, snares and much much more, or maybe it’s my favourite because I can hear a lot of Dilla influence in it. ‘Glowed Up’ is a little bit of a trippy collaboration with currently trending artist Anderson Paak who released his album Malibu this year.



‘Song’ is a mix of dreams and reality which is also shown in the music video which was released a day after Kaytranada’s interview with Fader, where he talks openly about his sexuality. ‘Breakdance Lesson N.1′ brings some funky disco vibes which are just an interlude to the garage influenced ‘You’re The One’ which contains vocals from Syd tha Kyd from Canadian neo soul group The Internet. Syd’s seductive vocals fit perfectly in the cosy, smooth flowing and highly sensual instrumentals. ‘Vivid Dreams’ sound like something Disclosure would play at every party and if you love that sound, then is your song. ‘Lite Spots’ has such a great video that any song would sound like a masterpiece with it. The song itself brings up Kaytranada’s Latin background with a sample of an old Brazilian song called ‘Pontos de Luz’ (he was born on Haiti but soon after moved to Canada).

‘Leave Me Alone’ is the first song we heard back in 2014 when this project was still in an EP form which grew into the album 99.9%. The song still has a little bit of Latin influence which manifests with lots of percussions and incoherent backing vocals. The Last song ‘Bullets’ is pretty upbeat but the lyrics sang by Yukimi Nagano from the band Little Dragon pull you back into the reality we are living in: “Sun don’t shine\And we all know why\Bullets keep flying\So many shooting\In the darkest times”.

Kaytranada’s first album is everything you’d expect it to be: playful, studious and still club oriented and everyone can find at least one song they will love. Everyone has their own interpretation of why the album is called 99.9%, my own is – he gave his all to this, but there is still more to expect from him, he came out of the closet and he made his first album and while it’s a big thing, it still isn’t everything he has to offer.

Release Date 6th May 2016 (XL Recordings)

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Patricia Pajk

Mostly listening to hip hop and electronic music but I'll listen to anything. I always try to find something new and explore music as much as I can. If I have to put myself in some kind of music genre box, I would put myself in "good music" box. P.S. I'm maybe Croatian but I'm living in a land of glitter, unicorns and festivals.