Although the majority of the project was conceived and recorded in a jointly rented house in 2021, the collaborative union between Montreal producer Kaytranada and Portland rapper Aminé has been nearly a decade in the making. Aminé, then a fan, remixed a Kaytranada song in 2014 and caught his attention enough to reach out on social media, creating a long-lasting friendship that’s clearly partly based on shared musical tastes. In their debut as a duo, Aminé leans a bit more towards the funkier, more tropical side of his sound to meet Kaytranada in the middle, while the beatmaker shifts more into the mode of a hip-hop producer, turning his typically lush style and complex soundscapes on experimental loops fit for a charismatic microphone presence. While he is known to hip-hop enthusiasts for his technical skills, to the general public, a considerable part of Aminé’s appeal comes down to his flamboyant personality and inability to predict what he will say to others. continuation. With a variety of fun pop culture references and creative puns, especially when it comes to his X-rated bars, he continues to deliver on that promise. Despite this, Kaytranada’s beats are as much the star of the show as the rap verses they present. Oscillating between playful samples, a hint of Afrobeats and reggaeton, and Kaytranada’s signature funk-laden dance beats, the album is a good start to summer that encapsulates the vibe of the two artists chilling out on pool floats on the cover.
Tapping into something only he and Metro Boomin truly share when it comes to inviting more notable guests to maneuver around their signature styles, Kaytranada’s beats initially captivate at their most basic level, but continue to change and change along the way, adding new embellishments to create a much more engaging and dynamic listening experience. That comes in the form of a catchy, high-pitched synth hook that reinvigorates the track midway through opening track “Who He Iz,” but it’s also one of the tracks where Aminé sounds hungrier. Despite his laid-back flows, he’s reaching a Pusha T level of casual conviction as he delves into increasingly outlandish boasts and lines only he could say, like “stop buffoonery.” With a random beat that’s strangely and deliciously reminiscent of an old-school Justin Timberlake track, it’s easy to stand out.
The duo also enlist a supporting cast of some of the only rappers who can match Aminé in the realm of carefree attitude and a penchant for being a sort of top hip-hop court jester on the album, including Freddie Gibbs. , Big Sean and Snoop. Gibbs’ dog appears on “letstalkaboutit,” a lush-sounding track that could have been a perfect fit for the opulent resort concept of his latest project. Gibbs and Aminé don’t feel like they’d be compatible on the surface, but they certainly both live to push people. Featuring a variety of playful pop culture references from the two vocalists, Kaytranada’s experimental beat of sparkling, cascading synths results in a couple of rhythmic mishaps, but the track is one of the places where the producer can show off the most.
Returning to his more danceable mode with a hint of reggaeton, Kaytranada’s Haitian roots prompt Aminé to open his verse on “4EVA” with a “sak pase” and continue with some of his most insane lyrics (in the best of senses). ). about the project. Kaytranada continues to prove his worth as an extremely versatile producer, shifting through a variety of sounds yet somehow instantly recognizable in each one: he brings a kind of vaguely tropical energy to everything he does. Many expected this project to be much more in-your-face, but Kaytranada pulls off the sounds of the beach as well. The song “Westside”, however, is where the two are clearly having the most fun. As Kaytranada cuts through a hilariously majestic-sounding violin loop, Aminé adapts with a choppy flow to lean into silliness and refined atmosphere; he makes it even funnier when an impromptu accompaniment says “he’s got the juice” as if he’s sheepishly admitting that he should give up his place to Aminé as juiciest of all. Adding some virtuoso piano trills on the 2North Dakota verse, are both artists firing on all cylinders. “Master P” finds Kaytrana continuing his experimental streak with some rewound vocal samples; it sounds like he’s slipping into rap producer mode, looking for attention-grabbing loops. This one doesn’t work as well, especially when Aminé starts trying to play more syllables than usual, as it makes the listening experience sound busy, but when the beat changes for Big Sean and the samples are removed, she does. what he does best. Sean and Aminé are kindred spirits: both have 40% technical ability and 60% goofy charm.
Feeling like an interlude with its running time under 2 minutes and Aminé opting to sing instead, “Rebuke” might have been an odd choice for a single, but it still works well as a transitional moment here. Kaytranada pays homage by dropping some J Dilla samples at the end, while Aminé shows off some amazing falsetto skills as she mourns the loss of “a match made in heaven like Ja Rule Ashanti.” The track “Sossaup” places a strange vocal filter on Aminé as Kaytranada changes gears again with a click-clack rhythm and some Afrobeats vibes. The instrumental is a bit more basic than we’re used to on Kaytranada, with not much more than two alternating watery synth chords, while a toned Aminé offering repetitive lyrics doesn’t do much to showcase her strengths. However, Ghanaian vocalist Amaarae certainly lives up to the song with her verse, sounding like she’s from another planet with an incredibly high-pitched delivery that warms the ears. “STFU3” is one of the better mixed tracks here with the percussion pounding hard while Aminé goes back and forth with himself in higher and lower voices. Whispering “yeah yeah” like they’re having a figure in a library and Aminé dropping some of the more quotable slashes, including a boast that he’s cute enough to be taped on the fridge, complete the picture.
The pair save some of their longer tracks for last, with Snoop Dogg’s feature on “EYE” sitting right between them as Doggfather blends naturally into the world they’ve created. “UGH” and closer “K&A” give Aminé more room to shine, as one of the most unpredictable and comedic lyricists shares some longer verses. The closer essentially splits into two tracks, the whole thing has the feeling of these two artists essentially playing a game and seeing what comes of it. When you have two artists with natural abilities like this, that’s often far from a bad thing.
Favorite songs: Who He Iz, Westside, STFU3, UGH UGH, 4EVA
Least Favorite Song: Sossaup