Kaytranada // 99.9%
Kaytranada's sleeve imagery of 99.9% almost perfectly illustrates its contents.
Album art's cachet with consumers has been fairly minimized in this digital age – we're pre-cognizant of what we're buying because we've already heard it. However, the would-be sleeve imagery of 99.9% almost perfectly (within 0.1 percent) illustrates its contents. The surrealist/pop art self-portrait depicts Haitian-Canadian producer Louis Kevin Celestin (alias Kaytranada) in almost deific fashion, many-eyed, Virgin Mary-nosed (in a cannabis-print cloak, no less), and orbited by flames, planes, candles, skulls, suns, and stars. The eyes suggest that there is multidimensionality to this record – and there is, as deep house ("Together," "You're the One"), left-field hip hop ("Drive Me Crazy," "Glowed Up"), and contemporary R&B ("Got It Good," "One Too Many") intermingle to great effect. The nose seems to indicate – also rightly so – that the sounds he's sniffed out are a) fresh (Virgin Mary = pure, untainted) and b) dope (cannabis-print cloak). Peers IAMNOBODI and Lakim have broached similar territory in recent years, but without songs so fully-realized or hot. – Matt Swanseger