KAYTRANADA’s album 99.9% was released earlier this May and despite the commonplace idiom, you can judge this album on the cover because it is apparent that no small detail is overlooked. Kaytranada, sometimes referred to as Kay, is a 23-year-old Montreal-based producer, born in Haiti as Louis Kevin Celestin. Kay’s Haitian heritage has influenced his beats, producing an innovative blend of dramatic, soulful African beats and West Indian island vibes in his music. Kaytranada has worked with The Internet, Kali Uchis, and made an appearance on Chance the Rapper’s recent Coloring Book. The album cover painted by Ricardo Cavolo is perfectly designed for the overall theme of this project: psychedelic, vibrant, groovy, and unique. Incorporating funk, soul, R&B, and some upbeat dance beats, this is a project that all types of people can enjoy. 99.9% caters to a variety of audiences as it covers a blend of genres rather than one. Artists and producers who utilize their talents to reach a wide range of fans are the ones who will be remembered. This album is a rarity; a stand alone project that will battle with the mainstream music and challenge other producers to not solely care about what is popular, but what is actually great, noteworthy music.
If you have downtime and want an album that is thought-provoking, contemporary, energetic, and dramatic, 99.9% caters to all of your needs in 15 tracks. Some of the tracks are positive and upbeat while others are melodious and smooth. Kay collaborates with a variety of artists and makes their dissimilar vibes and genres come together artfully. “Got it Good” is a must listen. Soulful and searching, Craig David sings along to Kay’s beats, making the song entrancing and romantically captivating from beginning to end. West Coast rapper Vic Mensa tags along in “Drive Me Crazy”, where the beats are in sync to the rapper’s bars, which not only enhances the music but also the instrumental in the background adds a more introspective, groovy element to the track.
My personal favorite track that I have been playing nonstop is “One too Many.” Phonte, the North Carolina rapper who Kay mentioned in a previous interview that he found the rapper “soulful,” softly croons along with the trippy, engaging beat. “Together” includes rapper GoldLink, a mix of hard, consistent bars and the harmonizing of electronic duo AlunaGeorge, two artists that would normally never think of working together, are surprisingly enjoyable. The vocals and production from AlunaGeorge are sweet and exuberant and GoldLinks, who has been described as a ‘90s baby who dislikes how tedious regular rap has become, jams along with us as he promotes music that people can enjoy and dance to. Another favorite is the track “You’re the One” with Syd the Kid from Odd Future and The Internet. Syd’s smoky, bedroom voice is addicting as she and Kay compose a romantic, catchy love song.
“Vivid Dreams” is utterly psychedelic. The beats and instrumentals make it feel as if you are truly falling asleep, which is perfect for the name of the track as River Tiber’s voices slowly fades and the music becomes quiet. You can almost imagine you are having a vivid dream to this song.
Not the standard album you will come across, 99.9% is a project done by a producer who has taken the time to gather a variety of productions and artists to convince and introduce to us that all types of music from diverse genres can come and blender together.
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KAYTRANADA’s Funky, Psychedelic Album ‘99.9%’: Photo provided by XL Recordings via Josepvinaixa and Red Bull Studios