From the outset of his debut solo album, Thoughts of Mine, Zayn promises old and new fans alike an intimate glimpse into his psyche: “Open up and see what’s inside of my, my mind,” he dream-sings on the album’s intro track. It makes sense, then, that he’d want to maintain the amount of voices on his record sparse — and so, in a sensible move, the album incorporated only 1 featured artist: R&B up-and-comer Kehlani.
The two trade vocals on the hazy and lustful “Wrong,” which is specifically the type of boundary-pushing track Z’s been itching to make as a solo artist — one who’s escaped the confines of pop stardom and desires to veer into uninhibited R&B territory. He couldn’t have picked a much better collaborator than Kehlani, then, due to the fact the 20-year-old Oakland native is rapidly becoming the genre’s brightest young star. If you don’t know, it is time you know.
Kehlani’s 2014 mixtape Cloud 19 produced her a cult favorite for R&B fans, but it was her second mixtape, You Should Be Here, that fueled the breakout year she deserved. The album boasted collaborations from the likes of Chance the Rapper and BJ the Chicago Kid, and even earned a Grammy nomination for Best Modern Urban Album. Now, she’s 1 of 2016’s buzziest artists, some thing that can be chalked up to her blend of fiercely truthful lyricism, ‘90s R&B vibes, and calm swagger.
No matter whether you’re just boarding the Kehlani train or you’ve been a fan given that day one particular, it’s never ever too late to take a appear back at her most crucial songs to date. Here are nine of our picks:
This badass, radio-friendly track finds Kehlani in a power position, explaining why she’s up right now and making specifically zero apologies for it.
“Bright” is a light and sunny self-esteem booster in the vein of TLC’s “Unpretty” and Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful.” Kehlani speaks straight to a handful of people struggling with confidence problems and tells them, “You are what you choose to be, it is not up to no one else.” This is the kind of song that can really feel super cheesy sometimes… except on those days when you just really need it.
“Alive” is a capital-P Pop song that closes You Should Be Here on the most triumphant note. A breakup song overflowing with positivity, it even got a co-sign from Taylor Swift last year.
“FWU” is the greatest unofficial response to Chris Brown’s “Loyal” a promise to hold staying true to her man and to see her ride-or-die connection through to the finish.
Kehlani’s debut solo song was released in the summer season of 2013 and became the soundtrack for anyone who decided to swear off seasonal, fair-weather relationships. She was only 17 when she released it, but the track’s gentle, old-time vibe right away endeared her to new fans.
Kehlani and Opportunity the Rapper trade spacey vocals about desire and longing in the seductive first single from You Ought to Be Right here.
Kehlani has her fair share of cool, DGAF-inspired anthems of badassery, but it is tracks like this that remind you she can also churn out heart-wrenching ballads that’ll cut by means of you. The way her voice catches in the final moments of the song, like she’s about to burst into tears, prove there’s vulnerability underneath that tough exterior.
As an openly bisexual woman, Kehlani is one particular of the couple of artists right now who makes use of the pronouns “he” and “she” interchangeably. It’s a refreshing dynamic, and 1 that gets even a lot more intense in the track’s accompanying video, which challenges the status quo of most videos by featuring only females (yep, there’s not 1 man in sight).
Kehlani serves up a hefty dose of actual-speak on this track, in which she coolly reminds you she’s often on guard: “You ain’t my enemy however, but you ain’t a friend to me yet.”