Haitian-Canadian electronic music producer and DJ Kaytranada has won Canada’s prestigious 2016 Polaris Prize for his album 99.9%.
99.9% was the long awaited debut album of Kaytranada, who has released 13 previous projects and dozens of remixes. The album blends aspects of funk, hip-hop, jazz, and electronica. Collaborations with high profile artists such as Vic Mensa and BadBadNotGood help give the album flair. Mensa’s bars lend cocky charisma and trap influence to an otherwise mellow and smooth album, while BadBadNotGood add a chaotic, free-form feel to the instrumentation. A unique aspect of the instrumentation is that instead of a computerized five second loop, the drums on each song are provided by a real, live drum kit. This adds a human vulnerability to each track, and helps the album as a whole not feel too sterile and electronic.
The albums that 99.9% were up against were:
Black Mountain, IV
Basia Bulat, Good Advice
Grimes, Art Angels
Carly Rae Jepsen, E•MO•TION
Jessy Lanza, Oh No
PUP, The Dream Is Over
Andy Shauf, The Party
U.S. Girls, Half Free
White Lung, Paradise
Carly Rae Jepsen exploded back onto the pop scene with her surprise megahit E•MO•TION. The sugary sweet 80’s inspired pop album received rave reviews for its superb songwriting and infectious composition. For her hit album Art Angels, Grimes learned how to play multiple instruments after utilizing GarageBand for her previous release, including guitar, drums, keys, ukulele, and violin.
Speaking of the runaway success of his debut album, Kaytra hilariously had this to say:
wow this shit is crazy
— KAYTRA (@KAYTRANADA) September 20, 2016