If you haven’t already been struck by this songstress from Oakland, she’s coming for you. Kehlani Parrish is equipped with a certain combination of skills that make her simply irresistible. She’s got a voice that sounds like butter, a pen that leaks lyrical candor, and she can move around a stage like a hip hop goddess. Naturally an entertainer, Kehlani is an artist with a knack to connect with people. In fact, her ability to connect is perhaps the driving feature that accentuates her dopeness.
While some people listen for the production or the vocal arrangements, the first thing that catches my ear when I listen to a track is a hot lyric; a sentiment, or perspective that is cleverly illustrated. And so, You Should Be Here was quite the lyrical experience. Kehlani is a storyteller. She invites you on her spiritual journey as she covers raw, real and otherwise taboo situations. Tracks like “Jealous,” “N****s,” and “Wanted” make you feel like you know her, or like she knows you.
Aside from her relatable lyrics, Kehlani’s music is simply fire; modernizing R&B in a Trap&B-heavy world, sometimes hearing a bit of soul, hip hop, and pop. No matter the style, however, you always hear her.
I imagine she has a lot of control over what goes down in the studio because she seems so passionate about her art. In a couple interviews regarding You Should be Here she mentioned that she writes all of her music and features only few artists because she’s really picky and particular about her music. I find that a picky and particular artist will make an album that is classic, rather than hit that lit for a season.
Kehlani has been behind the scenes telling stories through unreleased songs, and her mixtape Cloud 19, for a minute. Now, it seems as if the 20-year-old is finally getting her moment. After years of being an independent, underground artist, Kehlani recently signed to Atlantic Records. She has been recognized by Rolling Stone, and even received a Grammy nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album of 2016. It isn’t solely her die-hard fans who peep the greatness anymore.
Anyone who has an ear for good music immediately recognizes why Kehlani should be on every playlist rotation you own.