Kaytranada’s 99.9% – Album Review

Kaytranada, the 23-year-old producer and DJ released his album ‘99.9%’ on the 6th May 2016. As one of my favourite artists, I expected big things.

At only 14 years old, he started doing DJ sets after being introduced to music production by his brother, he explains “after he showed me the basics, from that day on I couldn’t stop making beats”.

Kaytranada has produced tracks for artists including Katy B, The Internet and Rejjie Snow as well as remixing tracks by DisclosureFlume and Teedra Moses. Currently, he is signed to XL Recordings, home to Radiohead, Adele and Jungle. The 15 track album has been a long time coming.

His heavy base interpretation of ‘If’ by Janet Jackson was thought to be his career defining moment by many, with over 5.87 million plays.

I have been hooked to his sound for around 2 years now after hearing Drive Me Crazy ft. Vic Mensa and Leave Me Alone ft Shay Lia (both are now featured on 99.9% with new improvements). His Boiler Room DJ Set in Montreal is one, if not my favourite Boiler Room sets. It’s 42 minutes long but so worth giving it a watch/listen, actively or just on in the background. With some brilliant remixes of some classics, as well as original music from the man himself, you’re bound to find a mix you like.

His music is a mix of hip hop, house and dance as well as funk, soul and R&B. The variety of different genres make his music almost futuristic despite having many musical influences from the past. Unpredictable would be the word to describe his musical talent, he always adds something different, experimenting with synths, percussion and rhythms to create new sounds, absorbing hip hop and R&B culture and just finding ways to make the music his own. Despite having previous history with depression, he seems to push himself and artistic boundaries every time, he is far cry from many over produced, synthetic artists currently in the mainstream. He currently has over 1.3 million monthly listeners on Spotify and is listed under ‘Hot Albums’ on iTunes.

The art work for the 99.9% album was done by Spanish illustrator Ricardo Cavolo, which features colourful, psychedelic imagery that I imagine is a metaphor for the album itself.

99.9% shows collaborations with artists such as Craig David, Anderson. Paak, Syd and other prior collaborators singing vocals. However, he also gives himself plenty of time to shine solo, check out LITE SPOTS. The video features, a cute dancing robot.

This album is by far in my top few favourites. Some of the songs featured on the album are “You’re the One” ft. Syd (from The Internet and Odd Future) with baseline-driven house vibes and featherlight vocals and “Despite the Weather” an instrumental with warm tones. The single “Glowed Up” ft. Anderson.Paak has had over 1.1 million views on YouTube, it was debuted on 7th April on Annie Mac’s BBC Radio 1 show, ‘it plays out like two songs in one as it switches from smooth hip-hop beats with soft electronic effects to a soulful bass and drum section at the end’.

My favourite track on the album is ‘Together’ ft GoldLink and AlunaGeorge. I enjoy listening to all three artists individually with Aluna’s sugar sweet voice, GoldLink’s fierce flows and Kaytranada’s afrocentric beats. Nevertheless, together (pardon the pun), they produced an upbeat, feel good song perfect for playing/dancing to during the summer months. Aluna explained on Twitter how the collaboration occurred with her, George and the guys: “In between a ping pong competition outside the studio the track ‘Together’ happened”.

This album is perfect for summer, whether it be for a house party vibe or just a day in the sun, it’s sure to get you in a super chilled mood. Kaytranada will be playing at festivals in the UK this summer, including Parklike on Saturday 11th June, (gutted, I only have Sunday tickets) as well as Wildlife on Sunday 12th June. I have heard he doesn’t disappoint, just watch that Boiler Room set if you don’t believe me!


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