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Mace & Crown | April 22, 2018

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Kehlani Breaks Out with 'SweetSexySavage'

Kehlani Breaks Out with ‘SweetSexySavage’

Petra Rich
Contributing Writer

Kehlani. Courtesy Atlantic Records.

Kehlani. Courtesy Atlantic Records.

Kehlani Parrish truly defined herself and gave any girl who is soul searching, going through a breakup or just living her life not caring what people think something to relate to with “SweetSexySavage.” Her first full-length studio album defines itself within the title and tells a story of a girl that doesn’t have it all figured out yet, but she’s okay with that.

“SweetSexySavage” opens with “Intro,” a poem written by social media sensation Reyna Biddy.

“My condolences to anyone who’s ever lost me / And to anyone who ever got lost in me,” is a message Kehlani gives with the album. Kehlani’s music has always been personal and relatable, and “SweetSexySavage” continues that streak.

The second track, “Keep On,” is upbeat and makes you hate that you love it.

“And you just keep on taking me back, / And I don’t know why you do / ‘Cause I’m no good to you,” Kehlani sings. This story of a one-sided relationship is a testament for those who are just a little too forgiving or an anthem for those who just can’t get it right.

Following “Keep On” is another upbeat track, “Distraction.” This track was released in late July of 2016 and peaked at 42 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Kehlani is asking her lover to distract her from her problems but to not get caught up in further developing the relationship.

“Are you down to be a distraction baby? / But don’t distract me / Let me ask you, baby.” She just wants someone to have fun with, but doesn’t want the pressures and stress of an actual relationship.

Another song later in the album that has a similar message is “Escape.” The track is a mellow ballad where Kehlani admits that she’s developing feelings but she knows she’s not what her lover needs.

“I can’t let you lose yourself looking for me / I can’t let you make me your, your everything.” This painfully honest song is what many people in this generation need to admit. Then again, if that happened the success rate of brokenhearted love songs would plummet.

The savage side of Kehlani comes out in “Do U Dirty,” “Personal” and “Too Much.” Each of these tracks are a personal declaration of how Kehlani knows she isn’t perfect, but she still knows her worth.

“Don’t regret the choices that I make / ‘Cause I’m still growing,” is a lyric from “Do U Dirty” further summarizing the message of the album.

Despite the love-triangle controversy involving the artist and her ex-boyfriends, rapper PartyNextDoor and NBA star Kyrie Irving, “SweetSexySavage” is not the typical album of a brokenhearted girl. It’s for the girl that’s been through tough times but isn’t apologetic for the person she’s become along the way.

Kehlani has had a hard time coming up. She was homeless from 2012-13 after leaving the band PopLyfe, which placed fourth in the finals of “America’s Got Talent.” In 2013, Nick Cannon helped Kehlani get back on her feet by moving her to Los Angeles and setting her up with studio time.

Since then, she has climbed her way up the R&B scene being named one of the “15 Artists to Watch Out For” in 2015 by Complex magazine and one of the “10 Artists You Need to Know” by Rolling Stone. A week after the release of her second mixtape, “You Should Be Here,” Kehlani was signed to Atlantic Records and the mixtape was nominated for a Grammy in 2016.

The “SweetSexySavage” world tour kicks off Feb. 18 and will continue through July. Kehlani will make her stop in Norfolk at The NorVa on June 1.