Album Of The Week: Aminé and Kaytranada – Kaytraminé

The Montreal producer and Portland rapper are both at their best as they join forces for this perfectly timed summery, steamy debut

There’s been a Twitter trend doing the rounds recently where music fans upload an album artwork that perfectly embodies its sound. The sweet, colourful blast of Mika’s Life In Cartoon Motion or the underwater glow of Weyes Blood’s Titanic Rising are a couple of especially approved examples.

But how would a decorated Canadian producer and a respected Portland rapper style their debut? One written and recorded in a swish, beautiful house in Malibu, where they also held extravagant poolside parties. How about… a shot of a decorated Canadian producer and a respected Portland rapper at a poolside party?

Kaytraminé, the debut collaborative full-length from Kaytranada and Aminé, does exactly what it says on the tin. The two come together after a friendship that dates back to 2014 to show off their respective talents, and have a very good time doing it – “I’m Jennifer Coolidge, I was on vacay,” spits Aminé on ‘Ugh Ugh’.

“We threw a huge rager after cranking out tons of songs,” the rapper told W Magazine recently. “We played some of them without telling people what they were. It felt like there was no bias – people were just nodding their heads and dancing to sh*t that they had no judgment about.” Kaytraminé feels just as fresh; ambitious and surprising in production but with pure fun at its centre, expect to hear this spilling out of parties all over this summer.

First thing’s first: this album is horny. To call it sultry is too suggestive. Debauched too dismissive. This is straight up horny. The breezy groove of Kaytranada’s back catalogue has always been considered sexy, and Aminé has had a lewd sense of humour since his 2016 debut ‘Caroline‘, but together, Kaytraminé are riled up and ready to rage. In one of the album’s more PG lines: “I’m starin’ at your eyes but you starin’ at my lips/ You talkin’ ’bout your momma but you thinkin’ ’bout my”… you get the gist.

KAYTRAMINÉ - 4EVA feat. Pharrell Williams (Official Video)

Freddie Gibbs, Big Sean and Ghanaian singer Amaarae are also at the party for a good time (don’t let the latter’s dulcet vocals deceive you), while later on in ‘Eye’ Snoop Dog appears like the responsible parent just preaching good vibes: “You got the key/ My love is a house”.

The Pharrell Williams-backed ‘4EVA’, which the duo debuted live during Kay’s Coachella set, is by far the record’s grooviest with its basketball bounce and makes total sense as a lead single. But the trademark Kaytranada bop perhaps distracts from the fact that this is ultimately a hip-hop project, and those expecting similarly dance-floor hits will be surprised. Opener ‘Who He Iz’ is dark and minimal with a deep wet bass that slaps you in the face; you can still have a little shuffle, but Aminé’s low, steady flow is spotlighted.

The 29-year-old is evidently at his finest when it comes to packing confidence into wordplay while keeping it rhythmically interesting and culturally relevant. But Kaytraminé also shows just how naturally sounds and tempos beyond the realm of the other half’s Grammy and Polaris-winning dance productions come to him.

On ‘Westside’ he samples sombre strings a la early 00s Immortal Technique, while updating it with overblown bass and hissing clicks that allows Animé to treat it like a trap cut. Only two songs later on ‘Rebuke’ he falls into a J Dilla and Nujabes-esque revery before awaking to the poking bossa nova beat of ‘sossaup’.

KAYTRAMINÉ - Rebuke (Official Audio)

It’s as though producing a hip-hop album as a fan and not necessarily as a hip-hop producer gives him the freedom to follow his fancies. Combine that outlook with a friend who has a talent for spitting bars and finding a good time, and you’ve got an album full of life and giddy excitement on your hands.

Released: 19 May 2023
Label: Venice Music
On Tour: June – August (Kaytranada supporting The Weeknd)