If you haven’t heard or listened to KAYTRANADA, you must be living under a rock. From the viral KAYTRANADA TikTok trends to the geniusly infused collaborations that are produced; his style, flow, and rhythm are more than just a blessing to the ears, it's an experience. Whether you stream his music on Spotify or Apple Music (*cough cough sniff, Spotify is better) or lucky enough to snatch a ticket and see him in person, KAYTRANADA’s versatile skill of incorporating modern R&B beats and vibes mélanged with house music, is what makes his music so idiosyncratic.
I’ve been listening to his music on repeat and shamelessly bobbing my head every second I hear his beats. He has his own twist of unique and renovated sound towards house music. One can hear the continuous beat loops, catchy choruses, and impeccable flow in and out of songs. I heard my first hit off him when I was 16 years old. I survived high school because of him along with all the additional musically talented artists who have collaborated with him.
By going to KAYTRANADA’s concert we were all doing ourselves and our ancestors a favor of simply letting go, breathing, and the opportunity to experience freedom. It was heart-warming to be surrounded by Black people with different styles, personalities, fashion, and vibes coming together to simply just vibe out.
If you weren't able to attend the concert don’t worry, I’ll paint the picture for you. Before you can enter The Anthem, there are these long lines wrapping around The Wharf on both sides of the building with excited and anticipated fans waiting to be checked, stamped, banded, and cleared to go to security. And, don’t forget to bring your vaccination card! Once you’ve moved along, please make sure all liquids, weapons, and contraband are removed before entering the premises. Don’t worry you're almost there, you just have to wait for the security to half-assedly search you or your bag and raise your hands like you're about to get arrested through the detection monitor.
Ah, take a deep breath! The hard part is over. You’ve made it to paradise now, the first step is to grab a drink (only if you’re 21+ of course ;), the Anthem has three floors and nine bar areas masterfully placed on each side. The second I walked into paradise, swarms of young free-living adults buzzing around the bars, rapidly throwing and holding dollar bills, and shouting complicated drink orders felt like I was in the middle of an auction gone wild. The bar stations were manned down with six bartenders strategically conquering and dividing us addicts.
The concert begins with three remixed simple beats that interlude and repeat themselves, and it's at this moment that everyone in the crowd gasps and holds their breath anxiously waiting for the first beat to drop so we can all guess the song and begin to sing our hearts out or dance. Let me say that this is one of the only spaces where it's socially acceptable to dance like a mad-hatter and people will join.
Here's the setlist of songs played:
1. DYSFUNCTIONAL featuring the iconic sister duo VanJess from the album Homegrown.
2. CHANCES featuring the amazingly versatile artist Shay Lia that has been featured numerous times on his music. She fits his flow and vibe because her voice transcends and possesses the perfect pitch for the choruses.
4. GO DJ featuring the incredibly talented and melodic artist SiR from KAYTRANADA’s latest album BUBBA.
5. Baby If It’s Alright With You by The Korgis.
6. GET TO KNOW YA remixed by KAYTRANADA from the unique sounding artist Nao, off her debut album For All We Know. She’s another voice that mélanges perfectly with KAYTRANADA’s style and her voice is so recognizable, especially with her older song Bad Blood.
7. CULTURE featuring Teedra Moses, which is one of my favorite songs by KAYTRANADA. This song forces your body to uncontrollably bounce and mindlessly learn the lyrics after the first listen. I heard this song two years ago and I’m still hooked.
9. 10% featuring Kali Uchis was played in its entirety. The music video was played in the background as the crowd and I cried our hearts out to the chorus.
10. OH NO featuring legendary British American Girl artist Estelle, and to be honest I didn’t even recognize her voice on this song until I listened closely. Estelle’s voice flows with energy on this track.
11. LOOK EASY featuring Lucky Day, he is another artist that’s been on repeat with his catchy, R&B-influenced music with vocals that transcend time, songs like Misunderstood and Karma are irresistible.
12. IF by Janet Jackson which became my favorite song of the night, this remix is magical and transports you to another planet once the chorus is played and makes you question “if I was your girl” into reality.
13. TOGETHER featuring AlunaGeorge and Goldlink, and let’s be honest when you think KAYTRANADA you think this song. This song is reminiscent of my 16-year-old self who was exposed to Goldlink with Rough Soul featuring April George on COLORS, which is an amazing platform to discover “underground” artists.
15. KAYTRANADA WAITIN_115 BPM by Kelea.
16. ALL NIGHT by Chance the Rapper featuring Knox Future.
17. VIVID DREAMS featuring River Tiber who is an amazingly talented artist that I discovered at 16, some songs I highly recommend are Motives and Acid Dreams. His vocals carry the music that makes you feel like you're on an acid dream.
18. LEAVE ME ALONE features once again the perfectly matched voice Shay Lia, the uniqueness of this chorus and beat is unheard of and creates an underground sound experience. It seems that KAYTRANADA took the opportunity to transition from new to nostalgia.
19. MEDITATION featuring the vocally powerful Jasmine Sullivan and Goldlink started playing everyone sang their hearts and grabbed their lover to sing to them. That moment brings me back to 2017-2018 when Goldlink’s music described that period in time along with other songs such as CREW.
20. TRACK UNO’s soft and slow introduction that sounds like a 1980s workout commercial.
21. YOU'RE THE ONE featuring The Internet’s Syd is another KAYTRANADA.
23. AT ALL and the
24. GLOWED UP featuring Anderson.Paak. I can’t explain how talented and groovy Anderson.Paak is with his unique voice that can be paired with any song. I fell in love with his sound at 16 years old with Come Down off his first album Malibu.
25. GOT IT GOOD featuring Craig David.
26. Girl by The Internet featuring KAYTRANADA played, this is another song that when you think KAYTRANADA, you think of this song.
27. THE WORST IN ME featuring the dancing queen Tinashe is followed by that feeling where everyone in the room can feel the high coming down.
28. BE YOUR GIRL featuring Teedra Moses is played. One might recognize the TikTok trend, next, all I hear is “Thank You D.C.” and quickly rush towards the exit through security and out the doors. My trip in paradise has ended physically but, spiritually, my high is still here.
KAYTRANADA’s concert is more than an experience, it’s an ode from humble beginnings to Grammy winnings. He shows humor and humility in his music as he surprises himself on his turntables and vibes with his own music. Three weeks later I am still reminiscing of my experience, the happiness and freedom I was surrounded by. KAYTRANADA brings people together through his music and it was one of the most beautiful and liberating moments I’ve encountered. It was almost like my 16-year self finally had the opportunity to experience and say thank you to KAYTRANADA for healing me through his music.