"Respect the DJ" is an old phrase that's all but extinct in this era simply because the craft has been diluted. Accessibility has ruined it across the board, and even the elite ranks feature too many "celebrity DJs" cashing in on their names and DJ/producers whose success is the product of trend monopoly over genuine talent. Thankfully, Haitian-born, Montreal-reared sensation Kaytranada is in another class.
Kaytranada, 23, penetrated the dance music scene in 2012 with an unofficial remix of Janet Jackson’s 1993 hit, "If." The reimagining exhibits many of his trademarks: warm bass, inventive percussion and a contagious, almost hallucinatory air. It was an artistic claim; a demo for his solo debut, "99.9%," which was released last month. The album is the blossoming of Kaytranada the artist, offering a sequenced assemblage of his production and proof of his ability to evoke the best from his collaborators. It’s a window into Kaytranada’s world, a sphere that, as evidenced by his sold-out performance at the 9:30 Club on Friday night, is best experienced live.
Although Kaytranada is stepping forward as an artist, his shows will always be more party than concert because of the nature of his music. The contagious mashup of house music, jazz and hip-hop is tailor-made for dancing, so beginning his set with "Track Uno," the breezy opener of "99.9%," opened the portal to his uninhibited dimension. DJs and producers create atmospheres; in Kaytranada’s, nostalgia meets his essence.