A month since the release of her fourth project, While We Wait, Kehlani is back and better than ever! The 23 year-old soon-to-be mom continues to provide the same lovely vibes and feels that initially reeled us in. While the tape contains a mere runtime of 31 minutes, this 9-track EP is not to be taken for granted! The mixtape features the talents of Musiq Soulchild, 6LACK, Ty Dolla $ign, and Dom Kennedy (talk about stacked)!
In an era of music where singers want to be rappers and rappers want to be singers, “While We Wait” displays such genuine R&B appeal that is desperately needed in music today. The EP is raw, pure, transparent and so much more. Without much effort, Lani quickly gathers listeners and fans alike to remind us all of exactly who she is.
Keeping that authentic R&B appeal at an all-time high, Lani goes back to her R&B roots with the tape’s first track, “Footsteps,” featuring the legendary, Musiq Soulchild. Over serene production, and a classic Omarion sample, Kehlani bellows about a failed relationship that had the potential to work if mere effort were applied. Instead of chasing after Lani when times get tough, her love interest allows the rain to wash away the “footsteps” she’s left him to get back to her.
“I left footsteps in the mud so you could follow me
You’re so bad at holding water, slips right through your fingers
We’d both end up drowning, it would hit the ground
And then the path would wash away, wash away”
Although the production is so soothing to the soul, the subject matter of the song ironically goes against it. Musiq arrives on the tune delivering the male perspective of the relationship. He acknowledges his faults and takes responsibility for the part he played in the relationship’s downfall.
The tape’s next track, “Too Deep” contains a childlike essence in terms of production. It feels very innocent and pure. It transports listeners back to the days of mixtape Lani when she first arrived on the music scene. However, don’t let it confuse you. Kehlani holds nothing back in the song. Originally written by Rapper, Trinidad James, “Too Deep” follows where “Footsteps” leaves and takes it even further. There seems to be wrong on both sides. It is simply too overwhelming for her. Her flow and delivery is so pristine. Every key, every lyric, is felt in the core as Kehlani sings about the conflict that comes with these relationships / “situation-ships.”
“Too aggravated, too complicated
More, more, more, more complicated
Less conversation, more confrontation
I’ma catch a case, no exoneration
I’ma go to jail, now I’m contemplating.”
Her passion blazes through the entire song and listeners will love that from beginning to end. The lyricism helps to tell a narrative that many will resonate with.
“Nunya” showcases a more “flexin” Kehlani. The story continues and at this point, she’s now done with the previous relationship but her counterpart seems to still be worried about her whereabouts, her actions, and basically everything about her. Lani shuts it down telling him that, “You had your chance and you blew it… Let it go.” With trademark Californian production, assistance from the LA native Dom Kennedy, and pure attitude, Lani makes crystal clear that whatever she does or does not do is none of anyone’s business especially her old flame’s. The song is definitely an anthem for ladies who dealt with significant others who took what they had for granted.
From production, to vocals and lyrics, “Morning Glory” takes listeners to “You Should Be Here” Kehlani. The message is simple, “If you cannot accept me when I’m not put together, you simply do not deserve me when I’m at the very top of my game.” The song is very empowering for anyone! Kehlani takes her truth and wholeheartedly embraces it. The chorus is very contagious and the song really relays 90’s TLC energy.
“And if you don’t want me at my goodnight
Then you can’t have me at my morning glory
At my morning glory
And if you don’t want me at my goodnight
Then it’s gon’ be goodbye (Gonna be, gonna be)
Gon’ be goodbye.”
This record gives us some of that rapper Kehlani that we have heard on songs and features before. She does an amazing job mixing both singing and rapping in such a way that it is actually enjoyable!
The tape’s fifth song, “Feels” is actually a personal favorite. The song tells this story of being so infatuated with someone and not being able to deny it any longer! It is trademark Kehlani to the fullest. Her voice is so strong and harmonious. The chorus is so melodious, and like every song her lyrics speak louder than anything else! Again, she remains vulnerable and open as she sings about going through various hardships to reach this mentally strong version of herself now. This person literally has her falling from the ceiling with how into them she is. Like a sort of drug, Kehlani simply cannot get enough.
The Ty Dolla-assisted, “Nights Like This” finds Kehlani again evaluating a past relationship that caused more turmoil than happiness. In it the singer thinks back to their time together and the good times, before reminding herself about the toxicity that grew from that relationship. He heart is damaged, her feelings are crushed, but yet she can’t help but reminisce on this lover. However, she immediately comes to her senses and remembers there was a reason the two didn’t work. She is wiser and much stronger than before.
“On some nights like this, shawty, I can’t help but think of us
I’ve been reminiscin’, sippin’, missin’ ya
Can you tell me what’s with all this distant love?
If I called, would you pick it up?
On some nights like this, I just wanna text you, but for what?
You gon’ say you want me, then go switch it up
Just gon’ play with my emotions just because, no (Oh).”
Over the eerie, chilling production, Ty Dolla quickly jumps on the beat delivering a verse mirroring Kehlani’s exact energy. He raps about truly being down for this person and being love just to be played and taken for granted. However this time around, he will not play the fool again. His heart is not to be toyed with and he makes it clear.
Another favorite arrives at the mellow paced “RPG,” featuring 6LACK. The term RPG is an abbreviation for “Role Playing Game,” as Kehlani shared on her Beats 1 Radio show, “Sunday Gems” with best-friend Reyna Biddy. The song is about a point in relationships that everyone faces: insecurities. Everyone desires reassurance of some extent. In the song, Kehlani focuses on those insecurities but she addresses that her significant other is only addressing them now because she asked not because of it being in their heart initially.
“You told me I’m beautiful
‘Cause I told you you don’t tell me enough
You’re lying next to me
‘Cause I told you you don’t touch me enough
Now you told me you’d stay with me
‘Cause I told you you’ve been working too much
You told me you care for me
‘Cause I told you you don’t show me your love.”
6LACK subtly hops on the track assuring Lani that he does not need to be prompted to do the things he does for her. He assures that the love he had for her is still there, and that all he desires to do is make her proud. He asks her to not only count him out but to trust / have faith in him. The two leave listeners wanting more with the intoxicating infusion of their voices. The make a melody that is relaxing to the core but manages to tell the story even further.
“Butterfly” rewinds the process of relationships straight to the beginning as Kehlani sings about new love and the fear that comes with that. The song begins with Kehlani addressing that fear as she sings, “Know we’re scared of us, what this might become/Ain’t no goin’ back no more, no more.” Using the metamorphosis that a butterfly undergoes, Kehlani links that with uncovering who her lover really is. She wants to know the in’s and out’s of this person.
She desires for them to become transparent and give themselves to her the same way she does them. Just like a breath of fresh air, Kehlani appreciates this new love as it makes her feel like a new creature. They spark a rush within her. The song is very sincere and heartfelt. The production is very … mysterious. The various components and sounds put together create this beautiful moment on the tape. Kehlani displays much versatility in her tones, keys, and pitch as she sings from her heart. She ends the song with some spoken word that speaks straight to listeners’ souls.
While We Wait’s final song, “Love Language” is truly one of the best on the record. Continuing the storytelling component that we see in her music, Kehlani tells this story of a relationship where she longs to truly understand her lover’s language. There is a barrier that is not completely intertwining the two as one and she desires to learn it so the two can truly love each other as they should. She questions them trying to figure out what makes them happy.
“A lot of ways to love you, teach me through your eyes
What is needed for you, needed in your life?
Don’t wanna go shoppin’, you want picnics in the park
Do you like mornings? Should we do it in the dark?”
The production on here mimics that of “Too Deep” and is very playful and upbeat. While the song is very serious it still makes you want to get up and dance. One of the best parts of the song is undoubtedly the chorus. Kehlani simply longs to know more about her love so that they can thrive together in love!
“While We Wait” is truly an authentic body of work that goes through each of the stages of love: being in love, heartbreak, healing, new love, fear, and more. It takes all of these various components and adds such a calming beauty to each of them. It romanticizes the the vulnerability that we as individuals face when we embark on these new relationships. Kehlani is honestly stronger than ever on this tape. She experiments with her voice and sound and creates truly unforgettable moments that will follow long after this tape. The selection of the features and ordering of the songs are both perfect and enhance the sound even the more.
The tape is a testament to Lani’s growth as she has an album under belt already and a new bundle of joy on the way. With each song, feature, and project Kehlani’s growth increases monumentally. The beauty in all of her work is that she does not try to mask her flaws. She does not try to bash or belittle anyone or anything. Instead, she takes every circumstance, hardship, and obstacle, and reclaims her power over it. While I seriously wish this project was longer than 9 songs, I’m so greatly pleased with the quality of it.
Favorite tracks from While We Wait:
- Love Language
- Nights Like This
- Too Deep
Since its release, “While We Wait” also has stayed at No.1 R&B on Apple Music!
Congratulations on yet another amazing body of art, Lani!