Kehlani Parrish aka Kehlani is an Oakland, California born-and-raised R&B/hip hop artist. She is an unapologetic, openly queer woman who has written many songs about her girlfriends, boyfriends, and partners, pouring her heart into her songs while making you either feel her pain or transporting you into your own “feels.”
Kehlani’s latest mixtape While We Wait cuts through the bullshit of relationships from start to end. Each track contributes to the story of being heartbroken and falling out of love to accidentally falling in love with a new person and dealing with the aftermath of old relationships.
The theme of toxic relationships repeats throughout the nine-track mixtape. Kehlani sings about wanting a partner who reciprocates time and energy or the patience to get through rough patches. She finds a way to incorporate her silky vocals all the while having her “I’m the boss” carriage.
The first song off of While We Wait, titled “Footsteps” (feat. Musiq Soulchild), is classically R&B. The sound of running water starts the track off, which matches Kehlani’s wavy and gentle vocals. She is unsure of where the relationship is going, but she wants the person she’s in a relationship to follow her if she leaves.
“Nunya” (feat. Dom Kennedy) and “Nights Like This” (feat. Ty Dolla $ign), the two singles taken to radio from While We Wait reflect on the aftermath of her relationships. In “Nunya”, Kehlani writes about getting treated badly by her partner, thus leaving that person behind. She says “Don’t worry who it is now/ if we got kids now,” basically if she’s with someone else, don’t worry about it. You lost your chance, so let it go and move on. In “Nights Like This,” Kehlani sings about a toxic past relationship. She misses the thought of the person, but in reality they lied and never put in the effort to keep her.
The anthem of While We Wait is a ‘90s-inspired hip hop-infused R&B track titled “Morning Glory,” a song for people who identify as a woman, especially in a time when they are held at an extremely high standard to be perfect all of the time. Kehlani echoes that if you can’t handle her without her fake eyelashes, acrylics off, no makeup, then you don’t deserve her at all. This idea of take me as I am or leave me is an important notion for her fan base to hear and chant back at her at live shows.
Kehlani is always on her mark and continues to make a positive impact in the music industry for queer women everywhere. While We Wait is a true expression of the trials and tribulations of and frustrations created by love while, in the words of H.E.R during her Grammys 2019 acceptance speech, “This ain’t even an album!” With this mixtape, Kehlani created a small world within this world for fans to mourn their own relationships and to hope for better ones.