Today we’re gonna talk about Kehlani, a grippingly soulful R&B singer out of Oakland, CA. Since Kehlani is here on Freshly Baked, it’s safe to say she’s “Next 2 Blow” and Bakes is never wrong. I think she’s what we all wanted Jhene Aiko to be, you know? Like Brandy, but people won’t roll your eyes when you say you listened to her in the car on the way to work.
The way I know Kehlani is going to be huge is because of her unique repertoire of vocal riffs. Every great female vocalist has a little library of scales and riffs that let you know exactly who you’re listening to. Whitney Houston had them, Mariah Carey has them, Lauryn Hill, Christina Aguilera, Beyonce, Ariana Grande… they all have a style that’s all their own. Kehlani has that too, and she has a wonderfully dope sense for collaboration. Recent tracks with Chance the Rapper (“The Way”), Kyle (“Just a Picture”), and BJ the Chicago Kid (“Down for You”), as well as the Snakehips Remix of “Til the Morning”, illustrate this quite well.
Here we go. My proof (like I need proof):
1. She recently made Jay-Z’s “Fuck the Summer Up” Tidal playlist.
2. She has awesome friends. The more casual selfies you have on Twitter with Angel Haze, the higher the likelihood that future collaborative efforts will produce dope results.
3. She’s also hot. Frankly, Kehlani is extremely talented and she could probably look like a gnarly foot and still make waves musically. But instead she’s a genuine “I woke up like this” kind of sexy. It’s awesome.
4. Billboard.com is already printing rumors about her doing a track with Justin Bieber. Whether she is or not, this is kind of ridiculous.
5. Jahaan Sweet. From what I can see he’s Kehlani’s primary producer, and he’s a genius with minor harmonies. Definitely another artist to watch.
So do yourself a favor and start listening to Kehlani as soon as you can. Also, try to buy explicit versions of her records whenever possible. She swears kind of a lot and you’ll miss important stuff if it’s all bleepy. Her newest album “You Should Be Here” is a work of art, back to front. The title track is gold, and every collaboration is perfect. Her ability to integrate seemlessly with all different types of hip-hop, and just about any flow will serve her well in the coming months.
Baker’s forecast: Provided she doesn’t get caught up in any ridiculous scandals, Kehlani will be as big as Rihanna in a year or two. #N2B