Kehlani's new mixtape gives 'Feels'
Kehlani seemingly never fails to disappoint. The accomplished Oakland-born R&B singer has made a well-deserved name for herself since her debut mixtape, “Cloud 19,” and the RIAA certified gold studio album, “SweetSexySavage.” Her recent feature on Cardi B’s single, “Ring,” as well as a slew of other high-profile collaborations, has only propelled Kehlani to an even higher status as a virtuoso vocal accompanist.
Her fans, however, have been longing for more of her and her alone. Now, with her latest mixtape, “While We Wait,” her following has been quenched of their thirst. “While We Wait” has once again highlighted Kehlani’s knack for consistent, entertaining and emotionally-captivating melodies intertwined with pulsating rhythms.
Starting out strong with “Footsteps,” the mixtape immediately transports the listener into a beautiful, poignant journey of ballads and duets. Featuring fellow singer Musiq Soulchild, “Footsteps” starts the experience off right. Soulchild’s verse quickly turns into an overlaid duet, all the while delivering a calming beat and simple guitar track throughout. The next track, “Too Deep,” is Kehlani all on her own, with just her vocals and a simple backing track. Any complaints of simplistic production are outweighed by the singer’s raw talent and delivery.
The mixtape continues with “Nunya,” an unapologetic anthem about being independent. The strong production of the song adds to the now-expected solid delivery from Kehlani, along with a relatively robust verse from rapper Dom Kennedy.
However, “Morning Glory” is perhaps the most entertaining track on the mixtape. Another anthem to independence, the production value of this song is even heftier than the last, with a catchy hook and Kehlani’s latest attempt at being a rapper herself – and boy is it a successful attempt. The song “Feels” provides a sound description for the entire release: “... you give me feels and I know that it’s real.” Nobody can really argue with that.
“Nights Like This,” featuring Ty Dolla $ign, is probably one of the best and most moving songs on the entire mixtape. “On some nights like this, I just wanna text you, but for what? / You gon’ say you want me, then go switch it up ... you gon’ get my hopes high, girl,” Kehlani sings. Powerful hooks, solid production and a wonderfully woven verse from Ty Dolla $ign make this a stand-out track.
“RPG” continues the same theme with an even quieter backing track and a quick verse from featured artist 6LACK. “Butterfly” sees Kehlani successfully attempting another stellar rap verse, while the final track, “Love Language,” harkens back to hooks on “Cloud 19.”
There’s no doubt that this release is another solid display of Kehlani’s talents and emotionally-driven writing. Fans will be pleased and casual listeners will be able to find gems. There will be plenty of people playing this record to death, and they have every reason to.