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‘KAYTRAMINÉ’ review: Aminé and KAYTRANADA set a low-key summer vibe

By June 3, 2023No Comments3 min read

In nearly every way, the idea of a collaborative album between Aminé and KAYTRANADA seemed like an irrefutable recipe for success from the get-go. Not even considering the history of the two showing love and exchanging beats dating back to 2015, the artistically rich and celebrated output that each of them has respectively developed up to this point paints a very clear picture to familiar listeners that the stylistic overlap is undoubtedly there. With its arrival, KAYTRAMINÉ is the tangible evidence of this artistic symbiosis,

As expected, KAYTRAMINÉ highlights the clever delivery and wordplay of Aminé amidst the ever-sharp production and sampling chops from KAYTRANADA. However, it’s the relaxed, low-key tone of the album that will leave some listeners basking in a relaxing summer daze, and others wishing for a bit more groove and thump.

From the entire tracklist, it’s easy to understand the choices for the lead singles. The steady bump of the mesmerizing “4EVA” features super slick co-production from the wizard Pharrell Williams, the perfect match to Aminé’s focused yet hilarious one-liners laced all throughout the track. “Rebuke” captures more of the feel of the album cover, the cute and flirty vocals soaking in the beautiful bossa nova sampled instrumental, and demonstrating a knack for singing Aminé has always had. 

The rest of the album trends in more atmospheric and spacious production, instrumentals easier to nod your head than bop your head. In the case of the Freddie Gibbs-assisted glistening electro-dance on “letstalkaboutit”, or the hard flexes on the cheeky “STFU3”, the understated tone and steady delivery work in their favor. The confidence is full to the brim, and indicates how comfortable Aminé is in these subtler and laid-back pockets that KAYTRANADA pushes.

There’s a line between composure and contentment though, and occasionally the two seem to cross that line. The opener “Who He Iz”, for example, starts on a rather unceremonious note, the stiff and skeletal shuffle of the beat having trouble getting the album going on the right foot. The repetitive loops of “UGH UGH” also tend to wear thin quickly under the weight of the overly bare structure and creatively weak writing.

On the celebratory closer “K&A”, the chorus echoes the line “Doin’ what we want ‘cause we want”, and it might be a good message to keep in mind for this record as a whole. Before its release, KAYTRANADA stated that KAYTRAMINÉ wasn’t just going to be another familiar showcase of dance production but instead truly reveal his versatility as a producer, and in many ways, it does accomplish this.

For some listeners, especially those looking for the definitive jam-heavy “album of the summer”, this album probably isn’t going to make that cut. But distance from those expectations can help show that there are still a number of playful and inventive cuts that feel true to the creativity of both talented artists. Perhaps in greater quantity or consistency though, it could have erased the feeling that the duo still has a little bit left in the tank.

KAYTRAMINÉ is out now.

Featured Image Courtesy of Venice Music

  • KAYTRAMINÉ - 6/10
Joshua Yoo

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