Louis Kevin Celestin, aka Kaytranada, has come a long way from just being that guy who remixed your favourite song and made it even better. Since his captivating edit of Janet Jackson’s ‘If’ made its way onto Soundcloud in 2012, he’s produced for some of hip hop’s newest hard hitters, including Vic Mensa, Chance The Rapper and Rejjie Snow, performed one of Boiler Room’s best sets in his hometown Montreal, and has continued remixing anyone he sees fit.
It’s only recently, however, that the XL signee has got round to dropping his debut album. 99.9% features the likes of Anderson .Paak, BADBADNOTGOOD and Craig David, with 15 tracks drenched in house, R&B and hip hop vibes that play just as great in the club as they do whilst you wash up. Wherever it is, music like Kaytranada’s is made to dance to, and that’s exactly what went down at London’s Troxy.
Warming up the night was Lou Phelps, Kaytranada’s brother. Being support can often be a difficult gig; you want to hype the crowd but never so much that it treads on the toes of the main act. Lou didn’t just tread – he trampled all over the place. Hits from Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Skepta, and other bass-heavy hip hop and grime numbers received a great reception from those in attendance, with the capacity near packed by this point.
Kaytranada soon sheepishly walked onto the scene, opening proceedings with the first track from 99.9%,‘Track Uno’. Immediately, punchy drums, shimmering synths and ear-splitting bass blared out, a description that perfectly encapsulated the sounds of the whole evening.
The crowd’s appreciation was particularly noticeable for gleaming single ‘Glowed Up’, featuring Anderson .Paak, and ‘Drive Me Crazy’ with Vic Mensa. Both are highlights from the album, with Kaytranada’s distinctive production perfectly complimenting both rapper’s unique styles – Mensa’s fierce verses sounded even sharper in a live setup. It’s also worth mentioning the instrumental at the end of ‘Drive Me Crazy’ is one of the Canadian’s most formidable constructions – here’s to hoping we see an extended edit soon.
Kaytranada’s stellar selection of remixes were also interspersed during his performance, ranging from Janet Jackson to AlunaGeorge numbers. It’s easy to forget the sheer volume of quality reworks the XL man is responsible for, but each time he tidily faded one out, in came another with an equally irresistible groove that meant there was little time to gather breath.
With 99.9% featuring a wide array of guest vocalists, it was disappointing that there were none present at the show. But take nothing away from Kaytranada, he didn’t need anyone else there. A pair of decks, some cheeky dance moves (including a dab that sent Troxy into disarray) and his arsenal of glowing, bass-heavy cuts commanded enough attention on their own. In his recent interview with The Fader, Kaytranada stated how he previously found touring a lonely experience, but it appears now he is at ease, able to enjoy showcasing one of 2016’s most exciting records thus far.
Words: Nathan Diamond
Featured image: Liam McCrae