Electric, lively, and happy KAYTRANADA has finally stepped out of the closet and into the spotlight with the release of his debut album 99.9%. For the past two years, the Canada native started appearing throughout music forums across the internet with dope remixes along with producing tracks for artists like Mick Jenkins and Goldlink. Born in Haiti before moving to Montreal, Kay has a very diverse background which is expected to be reflected on this album. Without any lengthy work prior to this project, this was KAYTRANADA’s first attempt to show fans what he is made of. There are a few songs that were released early on the 15 track album including “Drive Me Crazy” which features Save Money member Vic Mensa and “Leave Me Alone” Featuring Shay Lia. Released through XL Records & HW&W Records, this is the Canadians freshman attempt at capturing his entire sound on one album. While the previous releases were great, Kay often doesn’t develop enough in 99.9% to fully occupy the listener.
Snaps and crackles of an old vinyl kick 99.9% off in “TRACK UNO.” This tips you off with the feeling of an over encompassing theme throughout the album, a nostalgic vibe that later drops down into a funky R&B loop. This is directly reflected on the second track “BUS RIDE,” a jazz tune released as the third single on the album. With the help of drummer Karrem Wiggins and fellow Canadian River Tiber, the trio made a track that well fits the name, one that’s easy going despite its few minor bumps. Craig David being featured in “GOT IT GOOD” is one of the most bodacious pieces on the album but other than a few savvy lines, this track doesn’t do much else to get off the ground. This common theme of tracks being good but not great is prevalent throughout the first three tracks and unfortunately, this carries throughout the whole project.
99.9% leaves you wanting more due to lack of substance rather than satisfaction.
As KAYTRANDA tries to give listeners everything he is capable of, what he delivers often sounds too familiar. Kay and Goldlink have collaborated before on “Sober Thoughts” and they link up again on “TOGETHER,” but after a catchy chorus from female vocalist AlunaGeorge, the track’s cut short, leaving a desire for more. The lack of new and alluring sounds is a recurring pattern on 99.9%. “Drive Me Crazy” was released more than a year ago and has accumulated over 5.1 million plays on Kay’s SoundCloud.
Instead of delivering an album full of mind expanding instrumentals, KAYTRANDA falls short on many tracks due to the lack of substance. Though this doesn’t necessarily mean there aren’t any diamonds in the rough. With one of the best prospects to look forward to, Anderson .Paak on “GLOWED UP” proves that there are songs within 99.9% that shouldn’t go to waste. The track made its first debut on BBC1 radio a month prior and was a fan favorite similar to “Drive Me Crazy,” but it wasn’t enough when put in context with this album.
99.9% leaves you wanting more due to lack of substance rather than satisfaction. While KAYTRANDA shows his versatility throughout the album, it wasn’t enough to push him into the echelon of great producers just yet. 99.9% just needed .1% more to push it out of this state of forgetful background music and into something ground-breaking. Since this is KAYTRANDA’s freshman debut, however, he’s in a perfect position to grow and elevate his sound. There are also possibilities of collaborations with artists like Chance The Rapper or Monte Brooker, leaving KAYTRANADA having a bright future ahead of him and his fans with an empty plate hungry for more.