This new era of trap music, although entertaining and amusing to listen to, makes a lot of new rappers and artists sound the same. With all the Lil Uzis and 21 Savages in the industry right now, it's a breath of fresh air when an artist is different creatively. Kehlani is that breath of fresh air. Once her music hits you, you have to take a second to admire it. The singer/song writer from Oakland, California has chosen to stay away from today's norm and keep her 90’s R&B aura and it definitely works in her favor.
The 21-year-old has been performing for a while now, she made her first appearance on Americas Got Talent as the lead singer and only female in her band Poplyfe. She is very open about her personal life which transitions into her music where she talks about being left by her mother who was a drug addict and literally starting from the bottom when she became homeless. Her music ranges from love to how her mother abandoned her and how dope she think she is making it easy for everyone to relate to her music. And on top of all that, she can sing her a** off. Her voice is full of soul and drama, different from other mainstream artists.
Kehlani’s 2015 You Should Be Here mixtape gave her a lot of exposure. The mixtape was nominated for a Grammy as the Best Urban Contemporary Album. In the mixtape she has features such as Chance the Rapper in the song “The Way”, Lexii Alijai in “Jealous”, and BJ the Chicago Kid in “Down for You”. She also went on tour around the States and in Europe increasing her following and fans known as the Tsunami Mob.
Recently she has been making power moves. She was chosen to do one of the songs for the sound track for the film Suicide Squad which is called “Gangsta” and depicts the relationship between the Joker and Harley Quinn, then dropped a music video for it. She dropped two singles “CRZY” and “Tables” which features Little Simz, an artist from the UK. She performed at Power House which is one of the biggest concerts that are held annually in Brooklyn, New York and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania along with other artists such as Usher, Young MA, Jeezy, Desiigner and Tory Lanez. Kehlani, along with Nas, was added to some of the shows in Lauryn Hill’s “Diaspora Calling” tour that began early in September. She is also working on her debut album SSS, which does not currently have a release date.
As far as her personal life, many people may recall her suicide attempt a couple months ago. She is very open about talking about her battle with depression on her social media accounts and during interviews. She has used her platform to discuss, share awareness, and empower people to educate themselves. Even though we see artists deal with issues in their lives, most of them do not want to share it, but Kehlani was willing to open up that part of her life which made her that much more personable and relatable. With all the hate that she had experience from people after her break up with NBA player Kyrie Irving, she stays positive and shares her exuberant personality.
Along with being a talented singer with a fashion style no other female artist quite has, she is unapologetically herself. As a young woman in a male dominated industry she holds her reputation to a high standard without having to throw shots at other artists or bringing other women down. She expresses her sexuality proudly without having to be promiscuous. Her music as well as her positivity is the reason why she will be “Next Up” if she isnt already.