Kaytranada Continues to Refine His Sound on 'Timeless'

BY Wesley McLeanPublished Jun 10, 2024


For over a decade, Kaytranada has built his reputation as a summer staple. With his music existing at the intersection of house, dance, pop, hip-hop and R&B, he's crafted an all-encompassing signature sound with tremendous crossover appeal that perfectly soundtracks any sunny Saturday function.

On Timeless, Kaytra finds himself in a refined groove, sharpening his skills and honing in on what's his often-imitated style so unique. He's firing on all cylinders here, with nearly every beat possessing such an undeniable bounce that you can't help but move to it. Additionally, nearly every feature perfectly matches the energy he brings to each song, resulting in some of his biggest and best collaborations to date.

When looking at the sheer number of features on the album's tracklist, it's impressive that Timeless comes together as cohesively as it does. Names as varied as Tinashe, Don Toliver, Thundercat, Charlotte Day Wilson and more might feel like a bit of a grab bag at first glance,  but Kaytra brings the best out of nearly everyone present. The album is so well-sequenced that, even with a couple of similar moments, it still feels varied enough to maintain interest throughout; a tribute to Kaytra's tracklist puzzle-work but also the way he's sprinkled frequent collaborators and new voices throughout the album's runtime.

For long-time fans, the synergy between Anderson .Paak and Kaytra is nothing new. The pair have captured lightning in a bottle on almost every outing together, with 99.9%'s "GLOWED UP" serving as a fan favourite for both artists to this day. They reunite on "DO 2 ME," with SiR joining the fold, and the trio deliver an undeniably infectious summer anthem that will surely be spilling out of car windows at maximum volume for months to come.

One of the newer voices in the fold is Channel Tres, who has two placements here with the incredible "Drip Sweat" and the ultra smooth bonus track "Stuntin" which was released as a B-side to "Lover/Friend" late last year. The former is a major highlight here; the duo feel like a perfect match, both swinging between tempos and shifting from pitch to pitch in an effortless tandem. It's a perfect example of a vocalist locking in with Kaytra and sharing in the vision with him as they both elevate each other's craft.

While features like Tres and .Paak account for a large majority of tracks here, it would feel like a slight to Kaytra's evolution as a producer to not highlight the handful of high-quality instrumentals. "Pressure" sees Kaytra putting his own spin on Just Blaze's mid-2000s production, and would fit in on any Roc-A-Fella/Dipset album in that '02 to '05 window, feeling tailor-made for verses from Jay-Z or Cam'Ron in their respective primes. Later in the tracklist, moments like "Seemingly" and "Stepped On" highlight a variety of tools that Kaytra has in his arsenal, exploring different sounds and textures but keeping them unmistakably his own. Though these instrumental tracks only account for five of Timeless's 21 tracks, they do a great job showcasing how much Kaytra has evolved as a producer.

That evolution is the biggest takeaway from Kaytra's third outing. Though titling the album Timeless leaves the door open for scrutiny, in a sense, the notion of Kaytra's sound being timeless is proven throughout its runtime. He's evolved over the decade-plus that he's been active, but has never had to outgrow or abandon his sound — he's just refined it. While it may be early to qualify his style or sound as timeless, it's managed to stand the test for the past 10 years and he's done nothing but hone his skills.


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