Recommend if you like: Any of the features, which include River Tiber, Goldlink, Vic Mensa, Anderson Paak, and Little Dragon
Expectation: KAYTRANADA is a Canadian DJ and producer who has made a name for himself over the last few years, mainly for his work with various hip hop artists including Mick Jenkins, Towkio, Vic Mensa, Freddie Gibbs, Talib Kweli, Goldlink, and Chance the Rapper. 99.9% is Kaytranada’s debut solo album, featuring a variety of guest performers over his beats and instrumentals.
- Track Uno- A cool dance track to open the album. Not anything that special, but a decent amount of variation keeps it interesting.
- BUS RIDE – A pretty cool track, great background music for just sitting around.
- Got It Good- A really cool beat built around an interesting vocal sample, with a nice little hook from Craig David.
- Together – Not the most interesting production on the album or the best guest features. Not a bad song, but pretty bland.
- Drive Me Crazy – A pretty cool beat and decent contributions from Vic Mensa. The drums sound especially good.
- Weight Off – Basically a BadBadNotGood track, so if you like (which I certainly do), you’ll like this.
- One Too Many- Phonte has a good singing voice, so the R&B here actually works pretty well. If nothing else, Kaytranada is versatile.
- Despite the Weather – My favorite of the feature-less tracks, with some really nice sounds fleshing out the groove and a quick, concise runtime of 2 minutes.
- Glowed Up – Seeing as Anderson Paak literally cannot make a bad song in 2016, its no surprise that this is probably the best song on the album (and if you like this, check out Paak’s collaborations with Tokimonsta as well).
- Breakdance Lesson No. 1 – Its not bad, but I kind of forgot music was playing whenever it came on…
- You’re the One – Just fine, I guess. Kaytranada’s production provides the appropraite atmosphere, the melody is just somewhat forgettable.
- Vivid Dreams – I like the beat here a lot, and Kaytranda’s favorite synth sounds work great for this kind of melody. The real difference maker is the rhythm though; just the slight bit of syncopation between the drum track and the bass line does wonders for the overall appeal of the song.
- Lite Spots – A cool sample and an okay beat.
- Leave Me Alone – Mostly the same aesthetic as the rest of the album, though the outro is actually really nice.
- Bullets – A Little Dragon song, but with Kaytranada synths. Not bad, just not as good as I like to imagine it could have been.
Overall: I feel that I may have been a bit harsh in the previous section, so let me state this clearly: this album is good. I like most of the songs here, and that’s why this album has been fairly regular listen for me throughout 2016. However, Kaytranada has a LOT of unfulfilled potential that just doesn’t manifest here. His favorite synth sounds both tie the various tracks together into a cohesive whole and homogenize the album’s sound. Without features, this would be fine “mood music” to throw on and just enjoy the similar sounding synths and drums being arranged in different ways, paying no attention to the individual tracks. However, when guest performers enter the situation, as a listener I can’t help but want them to bring something more to the table, either in the form of a unique contribution which makes their song distinct from the rest, or by motivating their host, Kaytranada, to do something different himself. Instead, the guest performers’ personalities feel largely arbitrary, as if any singer or any rapper could have filled the role just as well. Generally, I just felt the album could have been so much more than it was; however, what it actually delivered was still pretty good.