Kaytranada’s 25 Best Tracks

Kaytranada turned 25-years-old a couple months back and it’s hard to fathom all he’s done from such a young age. The Canadian bred producer began officially releasing music in 2010 and he’s amassed a gigantic back catalog of beats, remixes, mixes and original songs, most of which are still buried on his Soundcloud page. Kaytra was of the first generations to really start a career in music off of Soundcloud, uploading new tunes of all variations to the platform at a consistent rate. That page is a treasure, it’s a timeline of Kaytra’s progression as an artist and it truly demonstrates the path he took to find his sound, a sound that in my personal subjective opinion is one of the best in music right now period. Kaytranada truly found a signature sound and it’s quite recognizable, especially to the trained ear.

While Kaytranada isn’t all over the Billboard Top 100 like Metro Boomin or some of these other producers, he’s still making a significant splash with dense, groovy production that’s caught the eyes of quite a few greats. Kaytra’s already worked with big name artists like Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys, Chance The Rapper among many others and it’s only up from here.

We decided to take a stab at ranking the songs of one of our best current producers. It was an arduous task but we’re happy with our final list of Kaytranada‘s 25 best songs. These songs were ranked subjectively based on how good the song is, not just strictly on how good the beat itself is. We didn’t include any of his remixes or his instrumentals, unless it appeared on his album 99.9%. Take a look at our ranks below and whether you agree or disagree, I think we can all agree on how incredible an artist Kaytranada is.

25. Goldlink – Have You Seen That Girl? (2017)

goldlink at what cost

Quite frankly, I love this song and the fact that it’s all the way at 25, the last spot on this list is a testament to just how strong Kaytranada‘s discography is. “Have You Seen That Girl?” was featured on Goldlink‘s latest album At What Cost and as you’re reading the production credits before listening to the album, you’re to expect a dose of future bounce, as the two have delivered together many times in the past. This record however takes a different path and it ends up fitting the go-go inspired hip hop album pretty well. It’s a scattered, retro sounding beat that’s immediately reminiscent of Drake‘s “Feel No Ways”. It feels brilliantly analog, a sound I’d love to hear Kaytra delve into more. – Trixx

24. Mick Jenkins – Communicate (feat. Ravyn Lenae) (2016)

mick jenkins the healing component

I’m just going to go right out and say it, I’m not a huge fan of when Kaytranada and Mick Jenkins collaborate. These two have worked together many of times and while I don’t think the songs are ever bad, there’s only just a couple of songs that really standout, one of those being “Communicate”. This song was featured smack in the middle of Mick’s latest album The Healing Component and boy did this one take my breath away. This song is signature Kaytranada. He’s not doing anything experimental here, he’s just relying on the patented bouncy sound that he mastered. The bass is knocking, the kicks are punching through and the song’s ultimately riding. Not to mention this one’s bolstered by a couple of unsurprisingly dope verses from Mick and an angelic hook from none other than Ravyn Lenae. This song’s a hidden gem on an album that I feel was panned by many people and kind of just glossed over. – Trixx

23. The Celestics – Charles Barkley (2013)

I tossed and turned trying to decide whether this one deserved to stay but after some deep soul searching and a cheesy long shot movie scene of me staring into some beautiful landscapes, I knew this needed to make the list. 2013 was when I stumbled upon Kaytranada, it was still very early in his career but he had a few remixes making significant noise on Soundcloud. This was also when he first introduced his brother Lou Phelps to us as the two brothers formed The Celestics. “Charles Barkley” was their first song on Soundcloud and the song’s just as vicious and banging as the wonderful cover art suggests. This was one of those in constant whip rotation for me in college and there were quite a few people I put onto this record off that alone. This fun song just has so many memories for me and still I can’t help but smile when I hear this one. – Trixx

22. Aminé – La Danse (2015)

Before “Caroline” blew up and became and a hit and before the rap internet called him an industry plant, Aminé broke major ground with this record right here “La Danse”. Aminé‘s mysterious success has been called into question numerous times and even how he acquired three beats from Kaytranada for his debut project was pretty baffling. But as I recall, someone told me that they began working because of a freestyle Aminé had sent to Kaytra over Twitter I believe. Kaytra liked what he heard and put stock into the kid. Now don’t quote me on that story because my memories foggy and I couldn’t find any internet receipts but it seems logical. The lead single from that 2015 debut project Calling Brion was this song called “La Danse” that featured a driving, upbeat Kaytranada beat. The beat itself’s one of Kaytra’s simpler productions but it’s matched by a super catchy hook that really served as proof to A&Rs and music guys that maybe there’s something special about this Portland kid. – Trixx

21. Shay Lia – What’s Your Problem? (2017)

Like with all artists, you’ve got those few local people you really came up with and built together. A consistent feature on Kaytranada music has been Shay Lia a name that really only has become somewhat known due to her work with Kaytra. She’s released a few singles on her own as well with her last one “What’s Your Problem?” being the most impressive to me. It really seems like she dug into Kaytra’s hard drive and found the nastiest thing he’d been working on. This beat sounds experimental and bold yet it definitely packs that Kaytranada charm we’ve come to love. I’m not the biggest fan of Shay’s voice; she’s a little rough around the edges but the beat here makes this a fantastic track. – Trixx

20. Goldlink – Meditation f. Jazmine Sullivan & Kaytranada (2017)

goldlink at what cost

Kaytranada produced 3 songs on Goldlink‘s last album At What Cost and we’ve got the 2nd one to appear on this list with “Meditation”. Prior to the album dropping, Goldink dropped quite a few different singles, most of which ended up being loosies except for “Crew”. Of all of those, “Meditation” was the last to be released and when I saw the single teased, my anticipation levels went through the roof because I knew the heights Goldlink and Kaytranada were capable of reaching plus they had Jazmine Sullivan?!? I though it was a wrap that this would take song of the year. And then I heard the song and I was a bit disappointed. I set myself with the highest expectations, thus why I was underwhelmed on my first couple listens. That’s what made this song turn into a grower for me and once I heard At What Cost in full, I really came to appreciate “Meditation”. – Trixx

19. Freddie Gibbs – Insecurities (2015)

In today’s hip hop landscape, songs are typically littered with co-producers. Travis Scott for example is very famous for doing that and bringing together a lot of the best producers just to collaborate on one track. However it’s rare that there’s ever any co-producers on Kaytranada‘s work. He’s typically a one man machine but he benefit from some help on Freddie Gibbs‘ “Insecurities” from Frank Dukes and Sid “Speakerbomb” Miller. Kaytranada has a light, feathery electronic-tinged sound that you wouldn’t typically think of with the gruff stylings of Freddie Gibbs but they’ve really developed a good working relationship, having done a few different songs. At the top of the heap though has to be “Insecurities”. Like the title suggests, Freddie’s being very open on this song, which is especially remarkable for a rapper that commonly refers to himself as “Gangsta Gibbs”. – Trixx

18. Kaytranada – One Too Many f. Phonte (2016)

Phonte and Little Brother have an indelible mark on my heart and when I saw this old meets new collaboration I was instantly excited. Phonte‘s been working with Nicolay as The Foreign Exchange for almost a decade now and at times, some of Nicolay’s airy beats sound like a stripped down version of what Kaytranada may do. And because of that, I had a lot of faith that this record would work. And surely it did work as it’s landed at number 18 on our countdown. This was another collaboration that all began from a Twitter DM but this record almost didn’t make the cut for 99.9%, the time cut that is. Phonte took a while to send this record back and finish his part but thankfully he finished it in the nick of time. – Trixx

17. Mobb Deep – Block Deep (2014)

Of all of the songs that made this list, this one is perhaps the most surprising. I say that because for one, who expected these two to even work together? And secondly because Mobb Deep‘s sound has always been gangster and gritty and Kaytranada‘s has always been more vibrant and danceable. Well this song ended up working so well primarily because Kaytra catered to their sound and melded his sound with their sound. – Trixx

16. Anderson .Paak – Lite Weight (2016)

Some of the best beats and songs ever are indescribable; those kind of odd sounds that seem impossible to put into words. That most certainly describes this beat for Anderson .Paak‘s song “Lite Weight”. It’s a woozy beat that leaves a lot of room for Anderson to spread his wings and fly. Unlike most of Kaytranada‘s work, this one is minimal as it’s focused on that one woozy sample and a very simple drum pattern. That leaves it all up to Anderson to carry the song further and that he surely does. Hopefully these two have some more cooking up because both of their collaborations together thus far have been spot on. – Trixx

15. Buddy – Find Me (2017)

buddy kaytranada ocean & montana

Most recently, Kaytranada put out a strong new EP with west coast rapper Buddy and the lead single was “Find Me” an unequivocally bouncy track. This beat is one of those that you can point at Kaytranada as the culprit behind it immediately when you hear it. It’s signature Kaytra at his best and it’s truly what us fans have come to appreciate from him. This song almost made me dislike Buddy because of how good the beat was. There was just so much going on behind the vocals and Buddy was getting in the way of that. Let me now point out that I wrote those couple of sentences in past tense because it was truly just an initial feeling. I came to appreciate Buddy‘s contributions to the song more and more and he really does a good job of riding a hectic beat that has a lot going on. Most rappers can’t do that. Most of the hip hop hits are atop simple 8-bar loop beats that only feature one main melody along with drums and bass. As good as Kaytranada is, there’s plenty rappers that couldn’t handle a complex beat of his but Buddy can. – Trixx

14. Chance The Rapper – All Night (2016)

chance the rapper - coloring book

This song just had to be on here, seeing that “All Night” is Kaytranada‘s most successful mainstream song. Chance is a superstar and he used a Kaytra beat on his last album Coloring Book and while he maintains his independent shtick, he was still able to generate some radio play for the album. “No Problem” was the main single but following behind it “All Night” got a lot of radio adds. There’s a certain signature bounce on this one as well with the song’s pounding upbeat rhythm even though the drums take a unique direction for the verses. These drums sound like they were sampled and interpolated from an African street corner musician. – Trixx

13. Mick Jenkins – P’s & Q’s (2015)

There’s a couple of songs on this list that don’t feature a signature Kaytranada bounce and don’t include a lot of his signature sounds and “P’s & Q’s” is very notably a different sounding song for the producer. This song maintains an analog sound featuring a gritty, hypnotic guitar riff that carries the weight of the beat. As great as the beat is, Mick Jenkins really comes through on this cut as he flexes just how talented a lyricist and rapper he is by using alliteration throughout the song, using mostly words beginning with the letters “P” or “Q”. It’s truly an example of lyrical wizardry that ought to go down with some of the great melding of literary devices in rap. – Trixx

12. Goldlink – Celebration Freestyle (2016)

This feels almost like cheating including this song on the list because it’s not truly an original collaboration but regardless of original intentions, this one’s fantastic. As the story goes, this was originally released to the world as a Kaytranada instrumental called “A Loser’s Celebration” but Goldlink picked it up a few months after it dropped to add some raps to it and turned it into “Celebration Freestyle”. This beat itself is an incredible, frenetic masterpiece with intermingling 808s and chanting vocal chops. This was a go-to speaker knocker last summer and that’s exactly what it’s perfect for. I’d kill for a collaborative project from Goldlink and Kaytranada where they’re having fun with the music and creating fun, uptempo bangers like this. – Trixx

11. Kaytranada – All We Do f. JMSN (2013)

“All We Do” was one of the very early vocal tracks from Kaytranada and it was the only cut with original vocals included in his early 2013 project Kaytra Todo. At this point Kaytra had already found his signature sound, he was just fine tuning it and refining it all. “All We Do” was an incredible record and it always sticks with me just how hard that driving kick drum hits. In fact, it’s probably too hard. The song’s incredible but it’s one of those early songs that I bet if you asked Kaytra about, he’d wish he could go back to change so many things. Regardless there’s so many notable things happening here, particularly JMSN‘s infectious and lasting vocal performance. It’s such a viable collab and it’s truly a shame that these two haven’t worked together again. – Trixx

10. Kaytranada – You’re The One f. Syd (2016)

Syd released her debut solo album away from her band The Internet earlier this year and if you ask me, it all sounds like a derivative of this song. “You’re The One” is airy and dreamy and the production really allows Syd to float and take a ride along this steady moving puffy musical cloud. This song was probably created at the same time the sessions were happening for her album Fin and this song truly would’ve felt right at home there. This would’ve been a standout if it were included on Fin *insert eyes emoji*. – Trixx

9. The Celestics – Funeral f. Goldlink (2014)

This song is actually perfectly described by the fire emoji. This brotherly song brings in Goldlink and the final product is just a banger. Kaytra grabbed a sample from the film Evil Dead, thus why it sounds so cinematic but the sample’s indeed very simple. It’s just such an eery tone those sampled strings give off matched with great added layers that make this tune so undeniable. I can always have fun listening to this song and I’ll still enjoy it ten years down the road just as much as I do now. – Trixx

8. Goldlink – Fall In Love (2016)

goldlink fall in love

I mentioned on Twitter a little while back about how this was perhaps my favorite beat of 2016. In hindsight, that’s still very true and ultimately this song as a whole is super impressive to me. It might be surprisingly high on this list because technically it was just a loosie, a single before At What Cost that didn’t land on the album for whatever reason. Thus, this song is overlooked but the beat is absolutely remarkable. I’m a sucker for good vocal usage in beats and man the ascending and descending vocal samples on this song are divine. But aside from that there’s a lot of layers to this beat, not to mention Goldlink really outdid himself and delivered a couple dope verses as well as a memorable hook. – Trixx

7. Towkio – Reflection (2015)

Before this song or rather before this album .Wav Theory, Towkio was still just Tokyo Shawn to me, one of many members of the SAVEMONEY crew. This album established him and it established his sound, a electronic infused, hip hop hybrid sound, something that our guy Kaytranada‘s a master at. This was one of the singles and certainly it was my favorite, led by a hypnotizing combination hook. Towkio yelling “COCAINE, ON THE MIRROR, SEE YOURSELF, LOOK AT YOU I’M RIGHT HERE, RIGHT HERE” along with the hypnotizing synths and bassline from Kaytra really set this track apart from the pack. And as those lyrics suggest, this cut’s deep. In that hook alone we’ve got Towkio speaking as the psyche of a young cocaine addict, an uber real topic that’s not touched on enough. Rap these days more than ever is about consuming drugs so such a real song like this that tells the truth about these glamorous drugs is a nice change of pace. Not to mention how hard it is to create an anti-drug song without sounding preachy and Towkio really did that on “Reflection”. – Trixx

6. Goldlink – Sober Thoughts (2015)

Kaytranada has had a significant influence on Goldlink‘s career, probably more than any other rapper he’s worked with. Now Goldlink is starting to make a mainstream impact as “Crew” steadily moves up spots on the Billboard Hot 100 each week. One of the couple of songs that really catapulted him was “Sober Thoughts. The God Complex single features an unmatchable knock, with kick drums that could blow out your speakers. The drums are Norbit levels of fat and just like you keep her away from your good, more fragile chairs, you keep this away from your delicacies that you don’t want to break while raging to this track. Not to mention how incredible the bass line is on this song. It truly just features all the great elements that have made Kaytranada so iconic, a unique, slapping drum pattern, an incredible bass line and irreplicable synths. – Trixx

5. Kaytranada – Glowed Up f. Anderson .Paak (2016)

We’re really into classic territory now, songs that are at least going to go down as classics for me. 99.9% was our #2 album for all of 2016, only trailing behind Frank Ocean‘s Blonde for good reason. That’s saying a lot already so it’s safe to say we really loved Kaytranada‘s debut album. I really hope he’s in the process of cooking up the follow-up but I’m still plentifully eating on the bountiful sounds of 99.9%. Before the album even dropped and we just had a couple singles and a tracklist, this track seemingly had a golden spotlight on it. Kaytra and Anderson .Paak make a good team and that was never more present than on this song. If Kaytra’s not the synth god, I don’t know who is. This song rattles off with Anderson going acapella for the first bar, only to be met with a beat drop promptly at the start of bar 2, immediately setting the tone for this track. This song’s iconic in every damn way, even the title “Glowed Up” is iconic. I try to find situations in conversation where I can utter the phrase “Glowed Up” because it’s just that cool. Back to the song though, which itself is the image of cool and anyone who doesn’t enjoy this song likely doesn’t have a soul. – Trixx

4. The Internet – Girl (2015)

The Internet began as a group spawned from the Odd Future collective and it certainly took them some time to develop not only their sound but their following. The group has hit their peak thus far with their latest album Ego Death and one of the two singles from the album is the Kaytranada produced “Girl”. This song felt like a preview of Syd‘s debut solo album Fin. It’s bouncy and electronically flavored and it strays away from The Internet‘s more analog sound. The song stands out a bit sonically from its neighbors on the album but this song truly is gorgeous in its own special way. The beat packs a phenomenal melody in its synths and Syd absolutely slays on the vocals. This is one of those songs that will live on for a while, it’s the song that people will point you to when they try to put you onto The Internet. – Trixx

3. Kaytranada – Lite Spots (2016)

I’ve kind of almost broken the rules. “Lite Spots” doesn’t feature a vocalist and it would’ve been much too hard to really rank and give each production fair due if I had to sift through the hundreds of instrumentals he has out as well. But I gave the few instrumentals on his studio album 99.9% a fair chance. Really though there was one truly special instrumental track and that was the album’s lead single “Lite Spots”. Even though I ought to stop calling it instrumental because this song doesn’t feel like that at all. Kaytranada utilizes a Brazilian vocal sample on this one which provides those perfectly on tempo, bouncy vocals atop the track that really bring this one to life. They’re so perfect and the rest of the beat is peak, bouncy Kaytranada. Not to mention, this song features one of the greatest and most memorable music videos in recent memory. Listening to this song without the video is like eating french fries without ketchup. Kaytra and his robot buddy are simply inseparable. – Trixx

2. Vic Mensa – Wimme Nah (2014)

This song’s got a lot of resonance for me as I’m someone whose been a big Vic Mensa fan and believer ever since he was the front man of Kids These Days. Vic’s career has been quite the roller coaster ride and I truly feel there’s been a lot of missed opportunities in it. Between his highly lauded mixtape INNANETAPE and his There’s Alot Going On EP stood nearly three years. During that time Vic did a lot of changing and it’s evident based on the numerous loose songs he put out during that period. Early on, around 2014 Vic was big into electronic sounds. Not only did he release “Wimme Nah” but he also put out “Down On My Luck” and “Feel That” which all had a similar bouncy, electronic vibe. I truly wish he would’ve kept with that sound from a selfish fan’s point of view but those songs were coming from a dark point in Vic’s life. He outlines it well on “There’s A Lot Going On” as he talks about that period of his life bluntly and details he troubles with depression, addiction and more.

To this day “Wimme Nah”‘s a go-to in the whip anthem. If I need a song that’ll really rattle the car then “Wimme Nah” will do it. The kicks are divine and the bounce is exquisite. This song will have the car bouncing like it’s got hydraulics. There’s plenty of dream collaboration projects I’ve got in my mental and an EP from KAYTRANADA and Vic Mensa is surely a realistic one that I really hope could happen one day. – Trixx

1. Kaytranada – Got It Good f. Craig David (2016)

Queue the drum roll, we’ve finally made it to number one. That is, if you’re even reading this chronologically. Odds are you scrolled right down to the bottom of this list to see what songs took the top few spots. Well leading the charge is “Got It Good”, Kaytranada‘s collaboration with longtime British singer Craig David. This collaboration broke David’s hiatus, spanning back to 2012 which was when he was last featured on a song before this. This song sparked Craig David‘s comeback trail like no other song could. The two did a couple of songs together for David’s album as well but neither stood out quite like “Got It Good”. The song features a airy, almost spooky sound that leads the way for the first couple bars before the slaps bass and kicks come in to truly transform the song. This song just sounds beautiful from start to finish; all elements of the song are equally dope. Even the damn verses of this song are catchy for real. – Trixx

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