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Kaytranada makes Polaris history with first win for hip hop

Montreal dance-music producer Kevin Celestin, better known as Kaytranada, dazzled Polaris jurors with his debut album 99.9%.
Montreal dance-music producer Kevin Celestin, better known as Kaytranada, dazzled Polaris jurors with his debut album 99.9%. (The Canadian Press)

Montreal's genre-blending producer Kaytranada made history last night with his Polaris Music Prize win — dazzling the jurors with his debut album 99.9%.

It's the first time, in the $50,000 award's 11-year history, that the honour went to black artist. It's also the first win for an artist in the hip hop/electronic music realm.

CBC Music correspondent and Polaris juror Del Cowie joins guest host Candy Palmater to shed some light on the secretive selection process, and how Kaytranada's win continues the tradition of nudging under-the-radar artists into the spotlight.

Cowie was one of the jurors who really pushed for the 24-year-old producer. 

"He fuses genres seamlessly. And on top of that he's adding his own stamp," says Cowie, adding that the album ticks all the boxes for him.

"It moves the head, the heart and the feet. It recalls the past, articulates the present and it suggests the future." 

WEB EXTRA | Here's the track that put Kaytranada on the map — his remix of Janet Jackson's If.

Kaytranada, left, is congratulated by Buffy Sainte-Marie after being awarded the 2016 Polaris Music Prize in Toronto. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

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