Kehlani – SweetSexySavage

Tuesday 14th, February 2017 / 17:51
By Trent Warner

Warner / TSNMI

With a contemporary pop landscape ruled by tropical house and soft EDM, Kehlani is minty fresh. Her laidback, sugary sweet throwback R&B has already landed her a swathe of adoring fans (dubbed the Tsunami Mob – her label is TSNMI and her nickname is ‘Kehlani Tsunami’), and a Grammy nomination for her second mixtape, You Should Be Here (she is the first woman and second artist ever to do so). Fitting then, that her debut, SweetSexySavage, references TLC’s iconic CrazySexyCool. The album is even interspersed with interludes á la any true, old school R&B classic. Her lyrics aren’t particularly deep, but their simplicity bears an honesty unlike much else out there right now.

In a few places, SweetSexySavage hugs the sweet bubble gum pop world too closely, but overall it glows by evoking the period Kehlani seems most rooted in. A time when Brandy, Monica, and Lauryn Hill dominated radio play with their infectious melodies and lyrical hearts. R&B might not need saving, but Kehlani is making a stand for what once was.