by Chelsea Lim
With three distinct personalities fused into one body of work, R&B and hip hop artist Kehlani reminds women to embrace all their layers and complexities. Her first major debut studio album, SweetSexySavage, ultimately shows that a woman should not simply have to choose what kind of woman she is, nor should she purposely mold herself into a singular role.
The introductory track, a fundamental facet, sets the album’s mood by showcasing the poet Reyna Biddy reciting a piece from her prose poem “I Love My Love”.
She opens with:
“The truth is, I’m a superwoman, and some days I’m an angry woman, and some days I’m a crazy woman for still waiting, for still loving harder.”
Kehlani’s honey-like vocals then gloss over backdrops of heavily-infused hip hop beats, uptempo music, and R&B instrumentation, showcasing a unique contrast of tones and styles. In the nonetheless cohesive project, here is a breakdown of some of the sweetest, sexiest, and most savage records from her album.
The upbeat blues instrumentation provides a more playful and fun aspect to her character and music.
“Everything is Yours”
In this downtempo ballad, her emotions surrender to pride and ego, revealing a deep vulnerability.
Highlighting her sexuality, this song confidently demands attention and recognition.
The vocal sampling of late singer Aaliyah’s “Come Over” subtly suggests an intimate and sexual feel to her blunt honesty.
Kehlani asserts herself as the woman she has become by relating the experiences that have strengthened her, showing her stronger vocals jabbing over its heavy beat.
“I’m too much of a woman, too much of a boss” is one of the most notable lines from this song with Kehlani’s vocals creatively playing with both masculinity and femininity. The song pulls from another Aaliyah and Timbaland produced sample, “More Than A Woman.”
Kehlani brings sexuality, power, and confidence to the table, but she also unapologetically reveals moments of pain, weakness, and truth. While each track highlights certain elements, she is able to seamlessly blend and insert multiple aspects, further establishing her multi-dimensional artistry. Independent, powerful, and authentic, SweetSexySavage is a strong foundation for Kehlani’s early career and musical legacy.