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With ‘SweetSexySavage,’ Kehlani is Bringing Back Old-School R&B

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“My condolences to anyone who’s ever lost me and to anyone who got lost in me or to anyone who ever felt they took a loss with me.” Singer-songwriter Kehlani’s first proper full-length album “SweetSexySavage” begins with a beautiful poem written by Reyna Biddy that encompasses feelings all women/men have experienced. She talks about people misunderstanding her, taking advantage of her, forgetting her forgiving nature, and missing her worth. It is almost impossible to not relate to her poetic words.

Kehlani Parrish introduces her album with this poem in order to show her audience that she is not a God nor a perfect person because of her success. Throughout the album, she does not try to be something she is not, and she acknowledges her imperfections. This is such an excellent introduction because it introduces the theme of her album: SweetSexySavage. With an R&B old-school vibe, Kehlani manages to switch your emotions from lit to sad to happy in a time span of 60 minutes. The major takeaways from this album are that love can sometimes be toxic, commitment is complicated, and discovering yourself/making mistakes are steps to happiness — and it’s OK to want to be loved.

Love has been shaped in our minds as the thing that brings all the pieces of life together, but in reality, it can be the source for destruction and self-hatred. Kehlani’s opening track, “Keep On” talks about a toxic relationship. “You just keep on taking me back, and I don’t know why you do ‘cuz I’m no good to you. In your open arms, baby, I belong. You just keep on taking me back.”

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These lyrics describes Kehlani’s boyfriend/girlfriend who practices unconditional love. This person is blinded by love and does not care about Kehlani’s mistakes. Granted, unconditional love is a wonderful practice, but it is clear that Kehlani knows she is hurting the person. She even goes as far as to say, “You can yell and you can curse and call me a b**ch … probably have the right to do,” where her toxicity to this person is seen as justification for mistreatment. This song is crucial to remind people on both sides of a situation like this that they could do better, and that they should because allowing a toxic relationship to continue only fuels the fire.

Commitment is often the reason why people continue to treat others badly. It is often the notion that a person has undying loyalty to you that halts your growth. On the tracks “Distraction,” “Undercover,” and “Escape,” she talks about situations when people may not want to be committed or obligated to someone. When someone is bettering themselves after or before a relationship, it is helpful to not be completely invested in another human being.

“Distraction” is an open, polite way of saying she just wants a distraction from the things in her life. Kehlani asks, “Are you down to be a distraction, baby, but don’t distract me. Do you wanna be?”

“Undercover” adds to this by saying that she’d rather hide the relationship from the world. As a celebrity, often when you reveal your relationship or sexual endeavors to the world, others will judge you or suddenly, only see you in terms of the other person. It is devaluing and often an invasion of a celebrity’s personal life.

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On “Escape,” Kehlani does an impeccable job by singing in an angelic way about wanting only to be someone’s escape. Thematically, the track is very similar to “Distraction,” but in this one, she is giving someone else a distraction because she knows she cannot sustain a relationship. It is a very considerate and loving song.

Although it is a good quality to be considerate, love is never only about the other person. The album’s final selections, “Piece Of Mind,” “CRZY,” “Advice,” “Too Much,” and “In My Feelings,” inspire a person to be a boss and to not forget their worth. My favorites are “Piece Of Mind,” “Too Much” and “In My Feelings” because they’re encouraging and self-esteem boosters.

These songs are all about empowerment and self-love, with tunes that will make your mornings better. I listen to “Too Much” every morning. It reminds me that “I’m too much of a woman, too much of a woman, too much of a bad ass b**ch, too much of a boss,” which motivates me to be my best self and not waste my day.

“In My Feelings” is a remix of “If It Isn’t Love” by New Edition, but it will make you want to crump your way down the street. It reminds every guy and girl that being “in your feelings” is OK.

Finally, “Piece Of Mind” is about breaking “off a piece of mind” and revamping yourself after a breakup. She urges the listeners, “gotta get a little piece of mind, gotta make sure that it feels just right, gotta make sure that [you’ll] make it last this time” and to find a long-lasting happiness.

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All in all, Kehlani uses her personal, mental and emotional experiences to speak to her listeners and fans. Make sure to check this album out because Kehlani Parrish is bringing back R&B with a exploding sense of Sweet, Sexy and Savage!

Christian, 19, is a sophomore at Georgia State who is going to see Kehlani when she performs at The Tabernacle in April and hopes to meet her at the VIP reception.

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