I first became a fan of Kehlani Parrish’s work in 2016 with her “You Should Be Here” mix-tape. The song that caught my attention was, “The Way” featuring Chance the Rapper. Being a 90’s baby myself, she quickly won me over with her 90’s influenced harmonies and her hard-hitting dance moves. It was a plus to learn that the Grammy-nominated artists writes all of her own lyrics.
Two mix-tapes, her chart climbing hits featured on “Being Mary Jane,” and “Gangsta” being the theme song for Harley Quinn and the Joker in “Suicide Squad,” 2017 looks to be a great year for the 21-year-old singer.
On January 27, 2017 she released her first studio album, titled “SweetSexySavage.” All week, I have been listening to this album on my commute to school, every day. The album, having roots in R&B, features of trap hip-hop, and beats representing her Cali-Bay Area swag just ooze of all three adjectives in the title.
The overall body of work seem to express her feelings overcoming some of her well publicized hardships in 2016. Including, her tumultuous love life that eventually spiraled into her battling thoughts of suicide and depression.
To make light of her troubled experiences, the first song she released was “Crzy” which is an upbeat dance record that celebrates the fact that everyone has a little bit of crazy in them and how it can empower you to embrace all parts of you, good, bad and ugly.
The song is also ‘savage’ because of the empowering, fast delivery of the lyrics toward the end of the song. One word just comes to mind of this song, “Yaaaaaaaassssss!”
Raised out of Oakland, California and growing up with a rocky childhood , Kehlani paints a scene of how her upbringing plays a part in her love-life in “Not Used to It.” She opens up about her past and self-analyzes the damage and why being in a great relationship is so foreign to her. This song was probably one of my favorites off of the album, as it reminded me of my own journey into womanhood.
The ‘sweet’ factor can be heard in her song, “Advice.” The song is about her realizing she needs to make better decisions in who she chooses to love and actually take her own advice. Although, it is a sad situation, Kehlani has a way of making you see the honesty in the situation which comes off genuine, uplifting and sweet, like in “Hold Me By the Heart.”
She also has a song that has haunting background vocals, a chopped and screwed version of “Come Over” by Aaliyah. Its titled “Personal“where she has stepped into owning her vision and where she’s headed personally and career-wise. She has been compared to Aaliyah musically, along with Ciara, and Janet Jackson. Listening to her songs, I can definitely see why the comparisons exist, especially since Aaliyah made her mark being the first R&B artist to blend R&B melodies over Hip-Hop tracks so effortlessly.
Her ‘sexy’ comes out in “Get Like” which is a fun, upbeat song which makes it sweet, but it also comes off sexy as well.
“Distraction” is another song in which she comes off as an independent woman who wants a distraction without being distracted from her building her life.
Overall, I enjoyed the album and I am excited to hear her tour dates have released. She will be in south Florida in April. I will be sure to catch the show and hopefully I can score a meet and greet as well.
In a recent interview with Sway in the Morning, he validates the reason I approve of Kehlani as a rising artist. Sway says, “[Your] honesty is what appeals most, because at the end of the day, we all search for that…and it’s hard to find anywhere.”
This is one of my life’s principles, to be open and honest in everything I do. We probably could get a little farther as a society if everyone was a little more honest. #SocietyRewritten
Kehlani, is a force to be reckoned with and is definitely here to stay. Ride the wave!