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Album reviews
Artist:
Kaytranada
Album:
Bubba
Release year:
2019
Label:
RCA
17 December 2019 / by Alexander Ramsay (author)

Genres: Alternative R&B

Similar Artists: Flying Lotus, GoldLink, BADBADNOTGOOD 

 

After dropping his debut solo album, 99.9%, in 2016, Kaytranada spent the intervening years after producing with some of the biggest acts in modern music - Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blije and Snoop Dogg among them. 

On November 18, he set music twitter on fire with a single tweet: “album. finito.” With this second full-length album, it’s clear that the Montreal-based producer (née Louis Kevin Celestin) has used the past three years to hone his mastery of beat making and sampling. Although thinly-sketched at points, Bubba is overall an exciting and groovy improvement on the template laid out by his debut. 

Featuring collaborations from a diverse field of artists - GoldLink, Charlotte Day Wilson, Kali Uchis, Pharrell Williams, Tinashe and Mick Jenkins - Kaytranada once again manages to fuse together R&B, soul, funk and house music into a dance floor ready package. 

It’s when Kaytranada forgoes any musical guests on vocals that Bubba falls flat and even he seems to know it. Instrumental tracks like album opener “Do It” and the penultimate song “September 21” are both under three minutes in length but still manage to feel rather monotonous. Kaytranada’s at his best when crafting beats that buoy the album’s many features, especially on album highlights “10%” with Kali Uchis and “Gray Area” with Mick Jenkins. Although no individual beat stands out from the rest on Bubba, Kaytranada is clearly talented at sustaining a singular mood across an entire project. 

With Bubba, Kaytranada does not so much reinvent so much as tweak his already successful style of dreamy, house-inflected instrumentals and artist curation. While it may not be a defining work of his career, Bubba is nonetheless a reminder that Kaytranada is one of Canada’s most exciting musical artists whose career is one to watch. 

 

Best Of: “10% (feat. Kali Uchis)”, “Need It”, “Vex Oh” 

Rating: 7/10

 
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The author

Alexander Ramsay

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