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With Picturesque penmanship and dewy production as refreshing as a spring morning, Kehlani holds fans over with her brand new mixtape “While We Wait”

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Two years after her true Debut, SweetSexySavage, Kehlani pours a bit more of her soul out as if it were consolation “for the homies”. With the release of “While We Wait” she serves up a cup full of emotional intellect. Maybe it’s motherhood on the horizon (Kehlani is due in March) but these tracks are jam packed with a soft self assured-ness that hasn’t been tapped by her musical persona as of yet. The collection of songs tangentially toys along the lines of resilience, much like that her previous efforts. Resulting in the most sublime of her discography, “While We Wait”, does not succumb to the trend of playlists as opposed to musical collections or the various thrills of streaming. At it’s core, this body of work is transitional. Aptly titled with new birth in mind, the common denominator on all nine tracks is growth - Growth from lessons learned, growth within, and even growth without. In three short mixtapes and an album, Kehlani has shown the utmost proficiency in piecing together past relationships lyrically in ways that play out like a binge watch before the eye.

The tattooed termagant fills a unique space in music with her pop potential and rhythmic roots. Her, more so than any of her peers, takes form on a stage solely of her own. She’s stationing herself for all to see and not allowing her background or her choice of song dictate where she performs. This is the same girl who had a song with BJ the Chicago Kid while she was opening for Demi Lovato on tour. Talk about top versatility!!! Comparisons may fly but Kehlani’s music and performance style leave her poised for crossover in a way that does not happen for the R&B girls anymore. Where other starlets are resting on a vibe, Kehlani’s honest authenticity shines from a whole other sun. Sadly, every other woman in this generation of the genre falls victim to being lumped together by trap drums and whispers; however, Kehlani’s taste level seems to heighten with each release, making her that much greater than more of the same.

Thematically throughout her thus far trajectory, survival has resonated in both her songs and in her story. Never one to shy away from the personal, her die hard fans know her like the back of their hands due to the candid spirit in her music. It’s that very unabashed attitude, detailing her emotions in song form, that wins the crowd over each and every time. Not to mention that she’s been a one woman girl group across every project. Relating to the younger music heads like Mary did in her heyday, Kehlani’s creep to the forefront is quite promising based on how she’s moving. Sharing every ounce of Crazy, Sexy, and Cool that Tionne, Rozanda, and Lisa once blessed the world with, Kehlani is falling into the pocket of her influences. “While We Wait” is the perfect projection into her own future and example of where she stacks up as an artist.

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Cheers to being honest

Neither of us knew what we wanted
But all we knew is that we cared
Still all we painted was a moment

And when I walked away
I left footsteps in the mud so you could follow me
And when I walked away
I left footsteps in the mud so you could follow me
You’re so bad at holding water, slips right through your fingers
We'd both end up drowning, it would hit the ground
And then the path would wash away, wash away


The songs on this effort seem to show an elevated hand in writing for the songstress as well. “While We Wait” exudes the coalescence of a singer with ten or more albums under. Sweet in essence and concise in tone, these songs will ring true for the masses without belaboring the point or reinventing the wheel. Anthems of vulnerability like “Nights Like This” - the first single off of the project, featuring Ty Dolla $ign - showcase the interchangeable moods of wanting and needing what you know isn’t good for you. She reminds everyone exactly where she sits on the spectrum, calling out her lady for the distant love. “You gon get my hopes high girl” she coos before Ty takes over.

“I thought we were just fuckin', I can't fall in love for nothin', I can't lie to you for nothin', I made you who you wasn't, We was candy crushin“. The 24 year old sustains her celebrated sass and tries her hand at some well accomplished Brandy runs when she tells a side shorty that things are getting “Too Deep” in a song of the same title. Subjectively, this feeling is in many ways universal for today’s dater at some point. Kehlani does a masterful job at telling that oh so human tale.

Fan favorite, “Footsteps” featuring vocal beast, Musiq Soulchild is a salute, not only, to Kehlani’s mental music library (interpolating Omarion’s “Icebox”) but also a testament to the maturity she helms in her unions. The song talks about a love that didn’t last and even though both parties know exactly where they went wrong, the relationship had simply run it’s course. Easily a top 5 song in her career, the singer gorgeously meanders through each layer of the genre and is charting out her own path as she goes.

With songs of this caliber Kehlani is transcending the average 90’s R&B obsession that radio is constantly trying to emulate, and differentiating herself from her peers in a major way. She’s holding this lane hostage with no need for any other entry and doing it well. “While We Wait” is a breath of fresh air from the production to the features and at this rate Kehlani isn’t making any misses anytime soon. The trust she’s built up with her audience and the follow thru she displays are veteran-like without even having a sophomore album. If this is the precursor to a postpartum album, then the industry has a lot of prep to do while we wait.

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