Album Review / Kehlani
WORDS BY PARIS LEWIS
Last month, Kehlani released While We Wait, her third mixtape, following the release of her debut album SweetSexySavage in 2017. If you aren’t aware of who Kehlani is, she is a 23 year old, Grammy nominated, contemporary R&B artist from Oakland, California. Kehlani is currently signed to Atlantic Records.
On October 12th, Kehlani announced her pregnancy of four months with a baby girl. While We Wait is a nine track mixtape that features artists Musiq Soulchild, Dom Kennedy, Ty Dolla $ign, and 6lack. Kehlani created this mixtape over the course of one month and gives us something beautiful to jam to “while we wait” for the birth of her daughter as well as her next album. To sum up the sound of the mixtape as a whole, Kehlani gives the listener a mixture of her unique, soulful, sexy, and harmonious vocals as well as catchy patterns and creative accompaniment. Here’s a track by track review.
Kehlani introduces the mixtape with Footsteps that features Musiq Soulchild. The song follows two sides of a relationship that has been going down the wrong path. We see Kehlani’s perspective as well as Music Soulchild’s. “And when I walked away, I left footsteps in the mud so you could follow me,” she sings in the chorus. She hopes that he would follow her and fight for her and the relationship, but instead he lets the footprints wash away. By letting them wash away, he basically lets the relationship end. On the other hand, he admits being caught up in his own shit and letting it get in the way of their relationship.
Too Deep follows a relationship of one and their “side piece.” Basically, falling in love was never intended, and the feelings are becoming “too deep.”
Nunya features Dom Kennedy, and follows the aftermath of a relationship. The lyric suggests that the guy who was previously in the picture is still caught up on Kehlani, wondering who is in her life taking his place or where she is with her friends. She replies with “Ain’t nunya business to know who I’m with or none of my shit.” Don Kennedy’s lyrics suggest that he knows that he shouldn’t be worrying about the past and that he saw it coming, but he can’t help himself.
Morning Glory is such a relatable song especially for those who wonder how their lover will react at first once the makeup comes off and the sweatpants are put on. We see Kehlani at her raw and authentic self, and she makes sure to let this person know that if they “don’t want [her] at [her] goodnight, then [they] can’t have [her] at [her] morning glory. This song does a great job at making someone feel comfortable in their skin and not getting caught up in someone else’s opinions especially if they’re a lover about to spend the night.
Following Morning Glory, comes Feels. Kehlani gives us yet another song that one can find themselves relating to. The gist of this song is that Kehlani realizes that she has feelings for someone and that she can’t be in denial of them anymore.
Perhaps the most known and catchy song is Nights Like This which features Ty Dolla $ign. It was the first single of the mixtape released in 2018. The track follows what seems to be a one-sided relationship and feelings that aren’t reciprocated. Kehlani shows themes of dishonesty, unfaithfulness, and distrust throughout the lyrics of this story.
Something that a lot of people may struggle with is feeling the insecurity of not being told things that they want to hear. However, when those affirmations are given to them, they get in this cycle of only thinking they were given upon request, not from the heart. RPG, standing for “role playing game,” follows this mindset. Kehlani wonders why she has to continuously prompt being told things like “she’s beautiful,” and doesn’t understand why she isn’t being shown love in this relationship. 6lack makes an appearance in the song explaining the side of the story that she doesn’t see. His lyrics tell us that he does love her, but he believes love is shown by actions rather than words. He also explains that he may be distracted and in his head due to suppressing his depression which may contribute to why she feels the way that she does.
Butterfly is the second to last track on the mixtape. It takes a look at the beginning stage of a brand new relationship. That stage where you want to get to know anything and everything about this potential partner. The title refers to the comparison of a butterfly going through metamorphosis.
The last track of While We Wait is Love Language. This story follows yet another relationship, but this one is about both partners wanting to overcome language barriers to understand each other as much as they can. One of the producers on this track, SuperDuperBrick, mentioned on social media that the song’s backstory is actually based on his relationship with his girl, so it’s especially special to him.
This mixtape is incredible, and Kehlani really captures relatable feelings and relationships that a lot of people have had or will experience. This mixtape is one that really deserves to be heard. So while we wait for Kehlani to release something else as beautiful as this, take a listen.