Kaytranada is only 24 years young, but already this Canadian whiz kid has been become one of the most sought-after producers of the moment. His debut album, 99.9%, includes features from GoldLink, AlunaGeorge, Syd tha Kyd, Anderson Paak, Vic Mensa and others. It’s a moreish album held back by some slight, but noticeable, structural flaws.
Hip hop is a young man’s game. Or at least that’s the impression you get when the Rolling Stones are selling out worldwide arena tours, and the likes of Blackalicious, People Under the Stairs, the Pharcyde and Slum Village – celebrated purveyors of hip hop during its teenage years – are still playing small and mid-sized venues.
De Le Soul have teased us with a couple cuts from their long, long awaited ninth album – And the Anonymous Nobody – earlier this year. We’ve had the wavy ‘TrainWreck’ and the funky new classic, ‘Pain’, featuring Snoop Dogg.
Now Pos, Dave and Maseo have let loose this quasi-orchestral, hip-hop masterpiece, which features Swedish electro-soul group, Little Dragon.
Here it is. The final countdown. We’ve had club bangers, blazing rap debuts, plenty of pop and atmospheric opuses. But the best is yet to come from albums that challenge the social order, boggle your mind and take you to new plains.
10. Jungle – Jungle
9. MØ – No Mythologies to Follow
8. Essa – The Misadventures of a Middle Man
7. Little Dragon – Nabuma Rubberband
6. Broken Bells – After the Disco
5. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings – Give the People What They Want
4. Neneh Cherry – Blank Project
3. Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots
2. Kelis – Food
1. St Vincent – St Vincent
Emerging onto the laser-lit stage, Little Dragon’s angelic frontwoman is wrapped in a flamboyant orange and florescent green dress, with yellow flower petals lining its shoulder straps, which glowed like a neon beacon as she, and her band, set the mood for a striking evening of frenetic electronica and dance jams.
Village Underground, LondonIt started with a blaze of dazzling blue light emanating across the smoky, cavernous venue. Then, the music started. A frenetic pulsing sound from the stage. The faint silhouettes of the band appeared one by one. And then Yukimi herself emerged.
“London, how you feel?” she shouted. The audience responded with a whoop of excitement. “It’s good to be back,” she said, at once leading the band into the robotic psychedelia of ‘Please Turn’. Little Dragon had arrived.
This year has seen the end of my time at university in Nottingham and the beginning of a new chapter at Goldsmiths in London. From Janelle Monáe’s ArchAndroid and the classic soul of the 60s getting me through my dissertation, to my first ever listen to Danger Mouse’s Rome (walking to and from the city campus’s library for the Trent Media AGM), to Ghostpoet’s life-affirming tones giving me the vigour to make it through my driving theory test; music has been with me every step of the way.
This year I’ve treated myself to a lot of music. And in the past three months alone I’ve picked up nine new albums. Now, this would immediately strike anyone who knows me well as odd, because, while I love to listen to all kinds of music, I suppose I’ve been quite conservative when it comes to investing in whole albums by artists I’ve only heard a single track from.