While We Were Waiting, Kehlani Dropped “While We Wait”
By Karina Rodriguez
“While We Wait” is Kehlani’s third mixtape that was released on Feb. 22, 2019. It is her first project since her 2017 album, “SweetSexySavage,” and consists of 9 songs that took one month to assemble.
Kehlani lived a tough life before getting her big break. Her father died when she was a toddler because of his drug addiction. She was then adopted by her aunt because her mother was serving time in prison, also due to a drug addiction. Kehlani practiced dance and aspired to train as a dancer at Julliard, but she eventually suffered a knee injury and turned to singing.
In anticipation of her album release, Kehlani had been dropping singles like, “Nunya,” “Butterfly,” and “Nights like This” in the few preceding weeks. “Nunya” features Don Kennedy and tells off stifling exes who just cannot seem to let the past go. In “Morning Glory,” Kehlani talks about how she is going to be her most authentic self, and if a lover is uncomfortable with that, they can leave. On her first single of 2019, “Nights Like This,” Kehlani teams up with Ty Dolla $ign, which is their first collaboration. The song dives into themes of dishonesty and misleading relationships, evident in the chorus: “You gon' say you want me, then go switch it up / Just gon' play with my emotions just because, no (Oh).”
Earlier this year, Kehlani appeared on a Beats 1 Radio Podcast to discuss “RPG.” She stated that the title RPG means “role playing game,” which was suggested by her friend and artist, Jean Deaux. She mentioned how the song is about “a period in a relationship when you are feeling insecure and ask for what you need, but when you get that, you feel like it’s only because you asked.” Although her songs on this album have themes of dishonesty and betrayal, she also explores how to build trust. In “Butterfly,” Kehlani learns about the process of opening up to one another and longs to uncover everything about her partner. She compares her lover’s need to open up like a butterfly undergoing metamorphosis. To close the album, Kehlani sings “Love Language,” which is based on a true story. She and her girlfriend, who is from Brazil, found a way to break the language barrier by learning to speak each other's languages and falling in love.
“While We Wait” has a little bit of everything. There is heartbreak and regret, but also softness and learning to love, which feels a bit like Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next”. The R&B pop tracks, along with features from Ty Dolla $ign, 6LACK, and others help build this well-produced album.