More of an eclectic ensemble than any sort of progressive genre piece, KAYTRANADA’s 2019 release BUBBA is a dance-heavy groove that continues to illustrate a bop-fest of adaptability. Perfect for the after-hours clubs of a dream-phased city, KAYTRANADA is able to encapsulate alienation within sound that breaks a barrier from the audience to the mainline.
From the jungle opening that quickly shifts into “DO IT,” BUBBA is a James Brown call back to the roots of percussive maintenance and tightness. The ability that KAYTRANADA drives into the listener is this fundamental background of drum and bass both authentic and synthetic which create a cobra clutch of intrigue around the record. There is never a dull moment that is not glossed as KAYTRANADA recruits some excellent feature work and is the food for the sampler that dance and hip-hop so desperately rely on. The features from Estelle on “Oh No” to the feature from Kali Uchis on “10%” work in a female voice over naturally beautiful production in a match seemed to be spawned in heaven.
Orchestrating BUBBA as a long-form piece is the easiest way to digest the movement as it spans 17-tracks through 50-minutes. In these moments, KAYTRANADA never lets the sun seem to die out over the shadowed record. While the production stamps along, the never-ending affair acts with a similar boom-snap beat in a one-two step fashion that is easy to approach and ultimately more fun than challenge. BUBBA is an album that desires attraction from an audience and is more of a piece that can be played for groups rather than a singular listener. BUBBA almost begs for this as everything falls into place with components clashing together like perfectly cut sequences.
The simple but perfected beginnings of percussion and drums are what shine throughout BUBBA and mold this background that is the foundation for a home. As the bricks are layered in through verses or other soundscapes, the house seems more and more fit to become livable as KAYTRANADA spins his own form and touch on the finishing pieces. As BUBBA shines in the incoming morning light, there is something truly special about the process behind the record. Rather than becoming drowned out by the similarities, KAYTRANADA creates more of an extended mix that plays perfectly into the repetition that it creates.
With all the surprises that 2019 had instore for music, KAYTRANADA sparks a welcome addition to his already overwhelming catalog of producer credits and albums under his gold tone drape belt. Somewhere between the glam and the gleam is an artist that can punch through sound with reference to dance in a modern era.