Album Review: 99.9% – Kaytranada

After listening to 99.9%, Kaytranada’s premiere LP with XL Recordings, I have to assume the title choice is more of a cheeky brag than a self-effacing comment. I can only imagine what he’d create if he gave that last .1%. The album as a whole shows off his talent and style in addition to his wide range of interests and influences. 99.9% goes in as many directions as the number of its collaborators, including Vic Mensa, Anderson .Paak, AlunaGeorge and Craig David (and that doesn’t even cover half of them). Kaytranada takes you on a journey through multiple genres and decades as if to challenge the listener to fit him within a box. “TRACK UNO” prepares the listener for this kind of experience with its multiple beat switches, the final of which had me itching for more.

This leads into “BUS RIDE” with its chill jazz vibes. The rift in “WEIGHT OFF” feels straight out of the 70’s, while the funky style of “DESPITE THE WEATHER” reminds me a bit of Chic and the instrumentals in “LEAVE ME ALONE” recall Brazilian duo Burnier & Cartier. “GOT IT GOOD” takes vocalist Craig David back to his heyday in the 00’s with lyrics similar to Fabolous’ “Throw it in the bag” and the kind of generic romantic sentiments we came to expect from artists like Usher and Ne-Yo. “ONE TOO MANY” brilliantly samples that noxious party-DJ staple “Cha Cha Slide” – never thought I’d say that – before transcending into what I can only describe as a fusion of Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie” and Janelle Monáe’s “Locked Inside”. The catch dance-pop stylings of “TOGETHER”, “YOU’RE THE ONE” and “BULLETS” contrasts the hip-hop beats and raps on “DRIVE ME CRAZY” and “GLOWED UP”.

Even though it jumps all over the place, in every track Kaytranada manages to meld the different influences and genres to his own characteristic style. The album is actually really cohesive despite the way it avoids any particular genre classification and I think that’s one of its greatest strengths. 99.9% takes you on a trip that never feels dull or tiresome and is more than likely to touch numerous aspects of your musical taste.

99.9% is now available for purchase on iTunes.

%d bloggers like this: