Sounds Like: Two parts punch-drunk neo-soul, one part New Wave boom-bap and a light garnish of house music
For Fans Of: J. Dilla, Basement Jaxx, J-Rocc
Why You Should Pay Attention: Kaytranada initially perked ears with remixes of songs by Janet Jackson and Missy Elliott — classics that he retooled with brash, bottom-heavy rhythms. Since then, he's been cosigned by veterans of the era he loves — producing for Talib Kweli and Mobb Deep — and has worked with other artists who wear their love of the late Nineties and early Aughts on their sleeves, like the Internet, Disclosure and AlunaGeorge. Kaytranada's debut album, 99.9%, hits shelves May 6th, and the record finds the producer uniting two generations of collaborators — Craig David sitting easily next to the rubbery young rapper GoldLink, for example — in the service of beats.
He Says: "Neo-soul caught my attention more than any other sub-genre. I was really attracted by that sound. It made me do what I do musically: trying to find the same type of vibes, those nostalgic vibes." But his music isn't only about nostalgia. "On albums I used to hear, there were a couple uptempo but very soulful R&B songs," he says. "There would be one song that would sound that way. My thing was to bring more of that to the table. That uptempo neo-soul, I wanted to bring that to life. Something dope, but something dance-y at the same time."
Hear For Yourself: On an album full of vocal features, an instrumental cut may speak the loudest: "Bus Ride" features the razor sharp drumming of Karriem Riggins and an unfussy keyboard line — lounge music pushed to a neck-cracking extreme. Elias Leight