Kehlani’s third mixtape is cohesive and best work yet

Photo courtesy of Tore Sætre, Wikipedia

Kehlani released her third mixtape “While We Wait” on Feb. 22 following her debut album “SweetSexySavage” in 2017.

Composed of nine R&B songs, some of the major themes of the mixtape are the complexities of relationships – the highs and the lows, new relationships versus the end and being unsure of what you may want or need.

The first song of the mixtape, “Footsteps” (feat. Musiq Soulchild), expresses this, as Kehlani sings of leaving footsteps for her lover to follow, but it doesn’t work out. Instead, “We'd both end up drowning, it would hit the ground / And then the path would wash away, wash away.”

“Too Deep” flows effortlessly from the first song, and piles on the theme of a new love and the uncertainties accompanied by falling too fast. “You just wanna talk, I don't wanna listen / Now I wanna talk, you don't wanna listen / I don't ever wanna lose you again.”

It’s a very revealing song and is easily relatable to anyone who’s ever been unsure of what a new relationship means and will bring.

The third song, “Nunya,” turns away from these things, as Kehlani sings about her independence and how her ex-lover wants to know about what she’s up to, but she refuses to respond.

The best lyrics from the song are: “‘Cause you don't want the world to know / That you lost a girl who got it on her own.” It’s a nod to being independent and asserting boundaries following a breakup.

“Morning Glory” echos the saying, “If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best.” With lyrics like “And if you don’t want me at my goodnight / Then you can’t have me at my morning glory,” it’s easy to see where the lyrics found their inspiration.

“Feels” encompasses the feelings that are often seen in the beginning of any relationship, as Kehlani sings about falling deeply in love with no limits.

On “Nights Like This (feat. Ty Dolla $ign),” Kehlani looks back on an ended relationship and what would happen if she called. The lyrics may seem simple, but the heartbreak behind them is tangible: “All them times I played the fool for you / Thinkin' we could put it back together, thought we had forever / You never see my point of view / Our connection is so severed, you don't show no effort.”

Following up on the heartbreak and heartache theme is “RPG” (feat. 6LACK). Her lover doesn’t pay enough attention to her or express his affection and it shows. “I see right through every look in your eyes / I hear right through every fairytale lie / Won't say a word, but the stories you write / They tell me enough.”

It’s like a goodbye conversation right before the end of a relationship, and the piano that closes out the song makes the idea seem even more final.

The last two songs, “Butterfly” and “Love Language” – also the best song of the album – are odes to being in love and putting in the effort to make it work. The ideas expressed in each complement the other song with similar lyrics.

“While We Wait” is Kehlani’s strongest production yet, with a theme that flows throughout the album and is beautifully mixed.

5 stars