Born Louis Kevin Celestin in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, he moved to Montreal, Quebec with his family shortly thereafter, learning how to produce from his older brother through the music production software FL Studio, made famous by Hit-Boy due to its easily pirated software code. Where the name “Kaytranada” came from is beyond me, and even Kaytranada himself, but it kind of has a nice ring to it.
Working with artists such as The Game, Chance the Rapper, The Internet, Talib Kweli, and BadBadNotGood, Kaytranada racked up a crazy list of prominent artists when it came to production this year. Here on his debut, 99.9%, Kayta adds other 2015-2016 breakout artists as features such as Vic Mensa, Syd the Kid of The Internet, AlunaGeorge, GoldLink (both artists who don’t like spaces between words apparently), and Anderson .Paak, who most notably sounds right at home on the single “Glowed Up.”
The main question I have here with Kaytranada, however, isn’t why he’s called that, but rather what 99.9% is really? Named after “his dissatisfaction and indecisiveness when it comes to his musical endeavor,” the record plays out like a series of singles or b-sides that he had either made himself or with other musicians, all compiled onto one project. I think Kaytranada is a fantastic producer, and 99.9% showcases that fully, but in my opinion, it showcases the talent of the featured artists equally if not more so than Kay himself.
The bass is amazing on “Glowed Up,” but it’s Anderson .Paak who takes the show. Performing the track sans Kaytranada at Panorama Music Festival 2016, no one ever had to know that Kaytranada produced or had written that song, it could have just been another track from Anderson’s first record that no one remembered and thought, “oh I liked that one, maybe I’ll listen to Venice again.”
Personally, I believe this tracklist/record would have functioned way better:
1) Despite the Weather
2) Glowed Up (feat. Anderson .Paak)
3) Breakdance Lesson N.1
4) You’re the One (feat. Syd tha Kid)
5) Vivid Dreams (feat. River Tiber)
6) Got It Good (feat. Craig David)
7) Together (feat. AlunaGeorge and GoldLink)
8) Bus Ride (feat. Karriem Riggins and River Tiber)
No offense to Vic Mensa or Phonte, who I haven’t seen since 2005’s The Minstrel Show when he was part of Little Brother, but honestly I’m just not super into those tracks, or the long repetitive instrumentals at the beginning. I truly feel like my re-order not only showcases Kaytranada’s production ability and featured artists better than 99.9%, but is also a more manageable listen at only 30min. I think Kay’s great, and “Glowed Up” is a jam, but in this day and age especially, I’ve always valued quality over quantity.