First Thoughts • Kaytranada - BUBBA

by Soul Surplus Staff December 16, 2019

First Thoughts • Kaytranada - BUBBA

This past weekend Kaytranada released BUBBA his second full length album following up the acclaimed debut full length album of his, 99.9%. BUBBA has been on steady rotation for me since it dropped. Maybe it’s just the excitement of having new music from one of the best DJ’s and producers of our time (in my honest opinion), but I also notice that this album is such an easy listen because of the approach. Kaytranada seemingly portrays the very essence of his DJ roots as the sequencing of this project feels best described as an underground party mix with an ever so elaborate feature list. The beautiful thing with this record, and almost any Kaytranada collab, is that he compliments artists so well with the music as his choice of features and collaborations always feel perfectly calculated and curated with intentionality that is praiseworthy when considering his production as a whole. 


BUBBA moves with such a steady and grooving pace yet dance invoking and head nodding, which for me is this sweet spot that always makes it easy to be a backing soundtrack for a day in the life of common things: whether the car ride, cleaning up at home, or hanging out with friends at a social event. With much of the 2010’s being more about pop EDM acts Kaytranada has truly stood in the gap as a prized poster child of soulful dance music. The Hatian-Canadian DJ/producer gives us those ever so familiar West Indies electro beat tracks like  “Need It” featuring Masego, that perfectly transitions into a track that is more of an ode to the urban house explosion of the 90’s with “Taste” featuring VanJess; moreover Kaytranada beautifully crafts tracks that represent a broad range of music through the black diaspora in R&B, Soul, Funk and Hip-Hop all via a dance lens on this project. Some stand out favorites of mine are: “Go DJ” with SiR, “Gray Area” with Mick Jenkins, “Free Fall” with Durand Bernarr and the instrumental tracks of “Puff Lah” and ”Scared to Death.”  


While his previous project 99.9% felt more like a calling card to the industry to let us know his range as a producer, (with dynamics stretching from the anthemic trap track of “Glowed Up” featuring Anderson .Paak, to the seemingly organic “Bus Ride” featuring Karriem Riggins and River Tiber, that felt like musicians sitting in at a cafe during Kaytra’s live set) BUBBA certainly never strayed away from danceable and head nodding tempos feeling like Kaytranada uploaded his latest DJ mix for us to jam to. The ‘cherry on top’ for this project are the satisfying “cut scenes” and interludes of alternate endings to tracks, that are a sample clinic in themselves, that never take away from the beautiful dance pacing of the project. 


As you can tell, Kaytranada is a favorite of mine and this project didn’t disappoint. A perfect soundtrack to lift spirits, raise any mood, and get people moving! Go check it out!

- John McNeill 

 



Soul Surplus Staff
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