In a highly anticipated album by fans of hip-hop and rap, the rappers Aminé and KAYTRANADA released their first collaboration last Friday under the name KAYTRAMINÉ. Many fans have already named KAYTRAMINÉ as the album of the summer, and for good reason. On the album cover, Aminé and KAYTRANADA tote flip-flops and iced drinks on floaties against a deep blue pool. Combining KAYTRANADA’s smoother R&B style with Aminé’s comfortable rapping, KAYTRAMINÉ brings together the best of both worlds.
With 11 tracks in only 34 minutes, the album provides short and sweet songs without any fillers. KAYTRAMINÉ ignores the new trend of long, bloated albums, full of attempts at hits intended to go in playlists, in favor of a more concise piece of art meant to be heard as a standalone project. KAYTRAMINÉ is reminiscent of Childish Gambino’s 2018 album Summer Pack and other pre-quarantine hip-hop albums, a lovely callback to less tense times.
The lead single “4EVA,” released on April 7, is groovy and fun, creating high expectations for the album. The track quickly generated hype, and now sits at the top of both Aminé and KAYTRANADA’s most popular songs on Spotify at more than sixteen million listens. A collaboration with the king of easy listening, Pharrell Williams, helped “4EVA” effortlessly capture the trouble-free feeling of early July. It is the perfect song to bop to with buddies over the summer over a glass of iced lemonade.
The first song of the album, “Who He Iz,” begins with a sample from Diddy & The Notorious B.I.G’s song “Real N****s,” and has more intense energy than the rest of the album. As the lead-in to a more relaxed album, this song would likely have been better on a personal album, not a collaboration one. Without a thorough connection to the rest of the album, the track is less enjoyable because it seems randomly placed.
The following track, “letstalkaboutit,” starts with a shimmering summer beat that sounds like soaking in the sun on the beach. It sounds eerily similar to Anderson Paak.’s “Might Be.” While Paak. is not directly sampled, his song may have been an influence, because of Kaytranada’s previous work with Anderson Paak, including their collaboration “Glowed Up.” The lyrics on “letstalkaboutit” don’t attempt to be incredibly meaningful, but the lighthearted mentions of money and dancing supplement the joyous tranquility of the song.
The heavy autotune on “Sossaup” makes the song feel like the most desirable hotel lobby music available, but I would be excited to hear this song in any elevator. Amaarrae, who typically uses hyper-pop aspects in her music, is featured in this track, adding a playful sense to the song. With a high-pitched voice and lighthearted lyrics, Amaarrae builds onto the flirtatious theme of the album.
The penultimate track “Eye” adds a braggadocious aura to the album, including the lyrics, “Nowadays, chin up, and I walk proud,” and “Decided I was gon’ boss up now.” Snoop Dogg’s feature brings a strong, consistent rhyme scheme, but doesn’t offer anything more meaningful than the rest of the light-hearted tracks.
The only worry we have about KAYTRAMINÉ is that it will become overplayed this summer, similar to the best summer tracks of the past. Even so, we hope it will become the soundtrack of the summer. KAYTRAMINÉ brings the best components from both artists in a stunning album that is both pleasant to the ears and heart.