Kehlani - While We Wait
While We Wait
SweetSexySavage from 2017 was Kehlani's coming out party. Her previous releases had been label focused cut and paste numbers with little in terms of excitement or experimentation. Her last album changed all that, but suprisingly on this new release Kehalni takes a step back from that sound and slides into a more normalized form of R&B. The trap elements have been dialed back and we are left with pretty standard R&B tracks with Kehlani's voiced layered over top. This record feels far more in line with the early 90s R&B vibe that has begun to slowly take over the genre. "Nunya" has all those wonderful elements that made her last album a smash. The reason this record suffers though is because people have caught on to this throwback style that Kehlani has championed. So much R&B today, especially from female vocalists, relies on early 90s nostalgia. From SZA to Jhene Aiko everyone is blending the style into their songs with great success. That's why Kehlani kind of sounds like she is chasing on this album. It feels too on the nose, to safe for her outsider perspective. You keep waiting for something unique or exciting to take shape on this record, but it never comes. "Morning Glory" has a hip hop breakdown, a very TLC thing to do, but it feels so incredibly dated like someone doing a hip hop verse just to make sure hip hop fans get a chance to listen. At only 9 tracks the album feels super short, nothing really leaves any kind of lasting impression.
While We Wait is trying to show off someone's talent, it's just not Kehlani's. The song "Feels" is a prime example. It is such a basic R&B falling in love song that it is wholly uninspired. Kehlani feels like she is just going through the motions track after track. You would think features like 6lack and TY Dolla $ign might breath some life into the record, but it never happens. What we are left with is just really lacking in creativity. Kehlani's voice is relegated to slow boring tracks that do nothing for her. I know this is technically a mixtape, a crutch people have been leaning on when their albums aren't as good as they expected, but you would think it what have something more to give. I'd like to say more, but I'm at a loss. Generic, slow and uninspired While We Wait is a major step back for Kehlani just when it seemed she had righted her path.
3.0 out of 10