Normally December is the month to bring out your Bublé records, kick your feet up and watch the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special. Kaytranada’s new album 'BUBBA', will be questioning the Christmas conventions of many house holds this year; its spontaneous release took everyone off guard, but really the LP is long overdue. This is the Montreal producer’s first project since his decade defining '99.9%' - a genre bending record that shed light to American rap’s 21st century innovators: Goldlink, Anderson. Paak and Syd are just a few names that appeared.
Within the first 20 seconds of BUBBA, you are bopping your head to the hiphop funky sonic Kaytranada so effortlessly assembles. ‘DO IT’ is an alluring opener, and reminds you of the synthy sound and frantic percussion the Canadian often favours on his tracks. It is clear even in the first two tunes that this album is created souley with the dance floor in mind - ‘2 The Music’ has an infectious baseline, and LA vocalist Man Omari features his goofy tones.
There’s no time for your feet to stop grooving - ‘Go DJ’, with SiR, carries on the sonic metaphor for the dance floor. The synth melody is very similar to ‘IT WAS MEANT 2 BE’, which came out on Kaytranada’s 'NOTHIN LIKE U / CHANCES EP'. The feature list is arguably even more all star on BUBBA than his debut album; Mick Jenkins, a life long collaborator, appears for the motivational ‘Gray Area’. The intergalactic beat revels in trance, but still maintains a house/jazz vibe that has become oddly suited to the flows of Jenkins.
The record is bound together by intersections of Kaytranada rhythms, proving the producer isn’t reliant on vocalists. Despite so many voices being on the LP, real name, Louis Celestin keeps a narrow vision, which adds to the effortless coherence of BUBBA. ’10%’ is simply irresistible. Kali Uchis provides her butter smooth tones to the Chicago house inspired beat. The chorus is contagious, as Uchis wines “you keep on taking from me, but where’s my 10%?” - whoever isn’t given Kali her cut needs to take a long, hard look at themselves.
One of our picks from the record has to be ’Need It’; Masego absolutely kills this beat with a scintillating chorus of collaged vocals and punchy lyricism. The only complaint you can have about the tune is how abruptly it ends. ‘Taste’ isn’t a shabby song to transition into, VanJess appeared on ‘DYSFUNCTIONAL’, a single Celestin dropped earlier this year. Personally, we are feeling DYSFUNCTIONAL over this one, but ‘Taste’ definitely works better in the album’s context. ‘Oh No’, with Estelle, is another stellar team up; it’s nice to have an English voice on the LP, and the Londoner is a perfect fit for the woozy R&B vibe of the song.
‘Vex Oh’ is another stand out jam. Goldlink and Ari Pensmith came together for ‘No Lie’ on the American's album ‘Diaspora’ earlier this year, and Eight9FLY is the perfect 3rd edition for the bouncy dancehall beat. Rounding off the LP with ‘Midsection’, which enlists Pharrell for a meticulous vocal performance, you leave the project with a summery feeling, which is odd for us English, but perfect for our more tropical counterparts.
For anyone with seasonal affective disorder, given when this album has been released, it is an essential listen. You can’t come away from listening to BUBBA without a sense of immense euphoria. With new Kaytranada and JME out this month, it seems we were too premature to decide on our album of the year list so early in December.
Give BUBBA a go below.