Kehlani’s had her sweet moments – “Honey” became an unplugged powerhouse track celebrating romantic escape, and snippets of her debut album embraced warmth and honesty as a SweetSexySavage. But with a string of unmixed and unmastered singles, Kehlani hones in on a darker musical persona, revealing the toxicity of her recent love life. Here’s a deeper look into Kehlani’s latest drops.
You Know Wassup (Nov 12, 2019)
Kehlani began to respond to allegations of her ex’s infidelity with the single, “You Know Wassup.” She opens with nostalgia: “This used to be my favourite time of the morning / Text you like, ‘Good Morning’ / It’s been a day, we ain’t spoken / All of me feels frozen, how could you let it go like that?”. Kehlani sings with a restless stream-of-consciousness, a need to pour out her thoughts all at once. She tweeted, “the fire thing about music is you can express the wildest and furthest parts of the emotions youre experiencing, even just the things the little back of your head voice is screaming.. or even the devil on your shoulder. flush it out and it keep it flowin.”
Valentine’s Day (Shameful) (Feb 17, 2020)
In a YouTube comment on the track’s official audio, Kehlani says, “a lot to say a lot to feel.” “Valentine’s Day” details the reason behind her breakup, calling her ex out on his infidelity: “Hope you live happily ever after with the bitch.” Kehlani takes a reflective self-love approach, becoming the bigger person in the situation: “Forgiving me for loving you…And I’m bigger than you so I can’t meet where you are…I got to give myself credit for loving as hard as I did.” Open and candid, Kehlani photographed in a recording booth feeds vulnerability into the continuing narrative, with its release publicly announcing to her fans the end of the relationship.
Toxic (Mar 12, 2020)
Much like the fluid vocal play of “You Know Wassup,” Kehlani’s latest single runs freestyle lyrics with dark reverb, where Kehlani comes to the realisation of the toxicity of her past relationship. “Toxic” spills the growing tension surrounding her past relationship as the effect of the breakup still runs. The cover art imagines Kehlani washing away the toxicity of her relationship, ending as fast as it started. “All these kisses and hugs is knock shit / You a damn drug, you toxic.”
Kehlani’s latest tracks are available to stream here.