Kaytranada – ‘Bubba’ review: one of the year’s most addictive club records

Kaytranada's stripped-back follow-up to 99.9% makes a late surge for the year's most addictive club record

Kaytranada’s last album ‘99.9%’ was a blockbuster. Released in 2016, the Montreal musician’s debut album was a thing of epic proportions. It mixed house, funk, soul, hip-hop and beyond across 15 glistening tracks, featured big names such as Anderson .Paak, Craig David and Vic Mensa, and the sample-heavy ‘Lite Spots’ made a run at the Song of The Summer. It’s little surprise, then, that we named it one of our Albums Of The Year back in 2016, and that it picked up The Polaris Music Prize, Canada’s equivalent of the Mercury Prize.

Follow-up ‘Bubba’ immediately feels like a more low-key affair. Announced on Monday (December 9) and released just four days later, the record doesn’t include previous singles ‘Dysfunctional’, ‘Nothin Like U’ and ‘Chances’. Instead ‘Bubba’ is made up of brand new material and have been played live in his DJ sets sparingly. 

But that’s how Kaytranada likes to work. His voice is absent from almost all of his output, but the music is decidedly his own. Whether it’s the choice of samples, beat construction or even the pitch and spaciness of the keys, his work is instantly identifiable. On a personal level, we know little about him – interviews are few and far between – but understand this: few do it better than him.

‘Bubba’ has the feel of an expertly curated DJ set, where tracks transition smoothly into one another and beats disappear as soon as they arrive. Only a handful of songs break the three-minute barrier. Take the album’s opening third, from the stop-start ‘DO IT’ through to the record’s finest moment, the Kali Uchis-starring ‘10%’, which is stuffed with sharp ideas and beat-switches. It’s kinda like a dancefloor packed with ravers – moving not because they want to, but simply because they have to.

The aforementioned ‘10%’ is perhaps the most pop-ready song he’s done to date, as is the Pharrell Williams-starring ‘Midsection’, inspired by the rhythms of French ‘80s group The Group NSI. The instrumental ‘Scared To Death’ is similarly explosive, while Charlotte Day Wilson’s guest feature on ‘What You Need’ makes for a sultry house stomper.

‘Bubba’ may be lacking the type of big bangers that thrive in festival sets like ‘99.9%’, but is no worse for it. Instead it’s a dizzying hour that is more interested in enthralling the already-fans that have made it into the club and to give them a helluva night. Job done.


Kaytranada – Bubba

  • Release Date: December 13
  • Record Label: RCA