Haitian-Canadian producer, Kaytranada has become a staple name over the years for his production and DJing skills. Likewise, Portland’s own Aminé has created a loyal fanbase through his playful yet poetic rapping style. Now both artists join forces to create the dynamic duo KAYTRAMINÉ.
First alluding to their collaboration via Twitter on April 4, 2023, the two wasted no time releasing the lead single, “4EVA” ft Pharrell Williams three days later. While this is Aminé's first collaboration album and first project since his experimental “TWOPOINTFIVE” album, Kaytranada recently collaborated with rapper IDK for his electronic dance album, “Simple.” While the announcement of "KAYTRAMINÉ" had fans savoring at the mouth for the potential song or album of the summer, they may be surprised with what they received.
Kaytranada is considered one of the best producers of this generation for good reason. With unique sample choices, this album is full of interesting beats such as, ”STFU3” which is experimental even for him. Occasionally, the producer pays homage to hip-hop classics such as Busta Rhyme’s “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” and Clipse’s “Let’s Talk About It.”
Aminé on the other hand puts on a show with his lyrical ability and his witty allusions. Referencing Karl Anthony Towns, Rachel Nichols, Skepta, Beyoncé, and more throughout the project. Finally, the album features a slew of artists such as Snoop Dogg, Big Sean, and Freddie Gibbs. However, the feature that takes the cake is Amaarrae on “Sossaup,” whose high pitch voice and vocal inflections bring excitement into the air and variation into the album.
During an interview with W Magazine Kaytranada said, “ ‘4EVA’ is one of the dance songs on the album, and people expect it’s going to go in that direction, but it’s completely the opposite. They are really going to experience my versatility as a producer.”
Before the project was officially released, Kaytranada noted that this album is not a dance album going against the expectations of many. Aminé is most known for his bubbly pop singles like “Caroline” and “Red Mercedes” and Kaytranada receives the most praise for his dance tracks and club DJing. Due to this, fans' expectations may have been shot, hurting how the album would be received.
In addition to this when speaking to W Magazine the artists described how neither were in the studio at the same time, Kaytranada producing during the day and Aminé rapping at night. This did seem to affect the album as there seems to be a lack of chemistry in an album that is supposed to be a collaboration.
Though those were the biggest flaws of the album, there were small features that came into play as well, such as Aminé's monotone voice. Lacking variation in tone and limiting the use of adlibs which fans have come to love makes his verses appear dull at times. Production wise there is not much to complain about, but some beats did lack creativity as there were few beat changes, bridges, or uniqueness in the production besides the sample itself.
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If going in with zero expectations, this album is one of the best releases of 2023. However, many fans might see this project as more of a disappointment with the lack of pop and dance hits. Overall rating is 8/10.
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