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Kaytraminé Could Have Been the Album of the Summer

James Francisco

No, this not a hotel, this a chalet / My pinky up 'cause I paid a lot for this ring / Studio time paid with Buffalo Exchange / Basically I'm sayin' I came a really long way.” These are victory lap bars on Kaytraminé’s “Master P” courtesy of Aminé, whose frictionless flow delivery rarely ever exceeds conversational volume. The 29-year-old rapper, who’s been busy grinding, has long left his breakout single “Caroline” and since ventured into more adventurous sonic territory, most evident in the uncanny funk of 2021’s TWOPOINTFIVE.

So of course a collab with KAYTRANADA (and the resultant portmanteau) makes sense. Kaytranada established himself as a legend in the making with the release of 99.9%, which won both the 2016 Polaris Music Prize, and Electronic Album of the Year at the 2017 Juno Awards. 2019’s BUBBA cemented his legacy even more, though the genre-bending producer really popped off with his Intimidated EP.

Kaytraminé – K&A (Visualizer):

I’m not sure if this is an apt comparison, but Kaytraminé seemed to be hyped as the hottest collaboration in the world of R&B and hip-hop since Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak. And released in time for the summer, Kaytraminé jumped into the pool with multiple contenders for songs of the summer. As mentioned, there’s “Master P,” where Kaytranada’s sampling chops are on full display. “Rebuke,” though melancholic, floats like heavy cigar smoke. My personal favorite is the two-steppin’ “4EVA” featuring co-production by Pharrell Williams and best played over party speakers. “Champagne and lemon with the Bombay, bae / French 75 but my French so frais / Comment tu t'appelles? Je m'appelle Aminé,” goes the track, as Aminé seems to sip on his own cadence. But are any of these tracks the song of the summer?

Kaytraminé is what happens when two masters of their craft get together and mutually decide to not take sh*t too seriously. Aminé is a technically proficient emcee with effortless cadence who prefers to wax poetic on matters of chillin’, beautiful women, and goofball activities. Kaytranada is a producer and beat sculptor who, despite his unique approach to R&B and house, also tends to play the role of sonic chameleon in his collabs, designing beats to be accommodating canvases upon which rappers can lay down their verses. This sensibility might explain why the record feels like a mixtape, and not an LP with all the screws tightened.

Kaytraminé – 4EVA feat. Pharrell Williams 

What we get is an occasionally homogenous-sounding sequence of tracks that crossfade a little too seamlessly into each other. It might strike some as unfair to want more complexity, but Kaytranada has made more complex work. “Westside” and “STFU3” are lackluster, and don’t really hold a candle to his older work.

Kaytraminé could have been the album of the summer, and is still a strong contender for rap album of the year. Alas, some tracks come off feeling underproduced, and weather-wise, summer’s oppressive heat waves gave way to rolling thunderclouds. Future collabs between Aminé and Kaytranada may bear sweeter fruit. It’s too cool a name to use just the one time.

You can listen to Kaytraminé on Spotify.

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