Since news broke that IDK and Kaytranada had completed their joint project Simple, fans instantly (and rightly) knew that they were about to be treated to an album of the year contender. In spite of both artists’ earlier works existing at almost opposite ends of the musical spectrum – like Kaytra Todo and I Was Very Bad for example – Kaytranada and IDK’s collaborative record together shines as a true testament to versatility, risk-taking, and the dynamic journey of a true artist. Making waves with a project that stands at only 8 tracks long, Simple is a refreshingly unique and colorful take on the styles and sounds that Kaytranada and IDK have helped popularize in mainstream music. Painstakingly polished and carefully crafted, album cuts like “Zaza Tree” and “Breathe” see IDK flexing his singing skills over Kaytranada’s eclectic hip-hop/house beats. Levels of energy fluctuate at moments’ notice on Simple – and while “Breathe” stands as more on the ambient and spacious side of things, tracks like “The Code” with Mike Dimes or “Dog Food” with Denzel Curry and Karriem Riggins are instilled with a certain level of high-octane energy. Every track blends perfectly into the other to create a nonstop immersive experience from the opening chords of “Drugstore” to the closing cheers on “Paris to Southeast”. Simple feels much more than the average album at its core – as pressing play literally makes the listener feel like they’ve been invited to a special event soundtracked by the dual unparalleled efforts by IDK and Kaytranada. IDK’s cleverness is also top-notch as always, with his charm complimented well by the high-quality Kaytranada beats that serve as the foundation for his sometimes earnest, sometimes humorous verses. Whether you come to this project because of IDK or Kaytranada, there’s no denying that the two have worked tirelessly to produce one of the most interesting hip-hop collaborations in a minute. Though I’m praying Simple won’t be the last time we see these two powerhouses unite, I know I’m going to keep this project on repeat all year long.