Sweet, sexy and savage are only a few of the many adjectives that can be used to describe the complex eloquence and beautiful spirit embodied within the extraordinary Kehlani Parrish.
This Oakland vocalist is undeniably the face of modern R&B with her recently released project Sweet Sexy Savage.
If a Grammy nomination off of her second mixtape You Should Be Here wasn’t proof enough Kehlani has the ability to touch her fans (The Tsunami Mob), her first official album most certainly is.
Without a single feature in all 18 songs (yes, I listened to it’s entirety for a solid 12 hours), it’s evident she has put so much of herself out into the world with her voice.
The hype around the album intensified with the early releases of a handful of tracks including “CRZY,” “Distraction,” “Advice” and “Do U Dirty.”
“CRZY,” “Distraction” and “Undercover” are definitely songs to listen to when you’re getting ready with your friends before going out to a party, or for when you are just feeling yourself in general.
Dope beats and sexy hints of jazz in “Keep On” make it the perfect song to start off the album, leaving listeners with an indisputable lust for more. In this track she sings about a relationship in which she can fall back on her partner, despite how many times she has left them or treated them unfairly. This is a situation in which many young people can relate to because love is not as simple as a cliché — there are many gray areas.
In “Piece of Mind,” she goes back to her roots both lyrically and symbolically, but there is a noticeable change in spiritual growth. The line “as I am” is repeated, which is reminiscent of her song “As I Am” from her first mixtape, Cloud 19.
In “As I Am” she sings about how a love interest made her who she was. But in “Piece of Mind,” she sings about how the conclusion of a relationship, with it’s many hardships, has helped mold her into a stronger individual who is more sure of who she is than before.
One of Kehlani’s greatest strengths is her honesty and her vulnerability. One can learn so much about her life through her songs, rather than other pop artists who desperately try to remain “#relatable.”
In “Not Used To It,” she speaks about how she’s had a difficult personal life growing up, which holds her back from being quick to trust people in relationships. She doesn’t want to sound like another stereotype, or like she is using her past as an excuse — it is simply an explanation for her actions.
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This vulnerability is emphasized even more in “Everything Is Yours” and “Escape,” when she sings about her undeniable love for another person and her willingness to give her all for another person. In “Escape,” she pairs this message with acoustic guitar notes that transition into piano and then deep bass beats.
Her voice has a signature sweet raspiness, as well as a contrasting rich, soulful tone. In the raw acoustic tune, “Hold Me By the Heart,” Kehlani’s voice has a mesmerizing effect on listeners — it sounds like a song that could be heard at a beach bonfire.
Despite her rising fame and top-charting success, Kehlani always remembers to stay humble. In “Thank You,” she acknowledges all of the people who have helped her along the way with a very simple beat and sweet piano notes. With all of the adversity she has faced in her young life, she never forgets where she came from.
With her self-made accomplishments, she is allowed to flex just a little bit. In “Personal” and “Too Much,” she expresses her newfound confidence and pride in herself. She sings “I got good heart, good soul, good sex / No stress, next for me is best / Don’t you run your mouth cause in this song I say it best.”
Kehlani puts her bare heart and soul out into the world with Sweet Sexy Savage, and all of her efforts have paid off. Those who have had faith in her ability to revive the R&B industry most certainly would not be disappointed with the creation of this virtually flawless album.