'BUBBA' by Kaytranada, album review by Adam Fink for Northern Transmissions by Adam Fink




Who doesn’t love a good holiday surprise? On Monday we were all treated to the news that Haitian-Canadian producer and DJ Kaytranada was going to release the follow up to his Polaris Prize winning debut 99.9% this Friday. Kaytranada exploded onto the mainstream when 99.9% was released in 2016. That album became a favourite of fans all across the dance music spectrum. The songs featured on his debut straddled the line between, electronic music, hip hop. R&B, soul and funk. There was literally something for everyone to grab onto. Today with the release of BUBBA, Kaytranda expands on the sonic palate of his debut and has crafted an album that will please fans and newbies alike.

With BUBBA, the 27 year old musician keeps the proceedings pretty smooth. This is an album that can literally played anywhere depending on your mood. There are a ton of hooks scattered throughout its 17 track runtime making it perfect for those early evenings getting ready for the club and equally ideal for the early morning walk home from the after party. The album kicks off with “Do It” and a wobbly synth track just floating on top of some delicious break beats. It’s a very nice way to ease into the album, setting a tone for what is to come. Kaytranada doesn’t stray far from this soulful mid tempo vibe on “The Music” which transitions perfectly in from that first track. Featuring a guest spot from Iman Omari, the track highlights the smoother side of Kaytranada’s production work. “Go DJ” follows with the same fluidity. Showcasing a stellar turn from SiR, whose excellent Chasing Summer was also released this year, making this one of the album’s highlights. One great thing about BUBBA is that when you feel like you’ve found your favourite track on the album, the next track starts to play and it almost one ups what has come before. Mick Jenkins flow on “Grey Area” feels effortless, perfectly blending with the airy synths that permeate the track. There is quite the array of guest stars that are featured on BUBBA. One of the best turns, unsurprisingly, comes from Kali Uchlis on the album’s first single “10%”. The song kicks up the album’s intensity somewhat. Where before you were bopping your head to the songs, “10%” will put your butt squarely on the dance floor. Canadian soul singer Charlotte Day Wilson shows her chops on “What You Need” one of the record’s smoother highlights that is perfectly juxtaposed with the follow up track “Vex Oh” which features GoldLink, Eight9fly, & Ari PenSmith, taking the vibe of the album from something more intimate right back to the club. Tinashe makes her mark on the wonderful “The Worst In Me”, singing beautifully overtop of some off kilter, colourful keys. The album wraps up with “Midsection” with a nice guest spot from heavy hitter Pharrell Williams. It’s a nice summation of the record and something that will be featured on a ton of playlists this summer

While he hasn’t been completely radio silent over the last few years, it’s great to have a new collection from Kaytranada. Like 99.9%,there is a ton here from everyone to grab onto. It will be one of those records where you and your friends will endlessly debate what your favourite tracks are. BUBBA may have come out late in the year but it’s surprise release is surely one of the 2019’s best.

review by Adam Fink


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