Album Spotlight: “While We Wait” by Kehlani

The Oakland singer drops a mixtape to hold fans over until the release of her sophomore album

Five years into her solo career, Oakland, CA native Kehlani Parrish has become a prominent figure in the realm of contemporary R&B — a field of play that is absolutely booming right now, with the rise of artists like SZA, H.E.R., Jorja Smith, Ella Mai, etc.

But it’s technically been over two years since the release of her incredibly enjoyable debut studio album SweetSexySavage; other than a few singles and multiple guest appearances, she’s been relatively quiet from a music standpoint.

Beyond the music, though, much has changed in the young singer’s life, as she announced her pregnancy this past October. This, of course, hasn’t stopped fans from clamoring for new Lani music.

Nevertheless, the Bay Area singer still managed to hit the studio and churned out a project over the course of two months in the middle of her album recording sessions/preparation for motherhood. The product, While We Wait, serves as a hold-over for listeners awaiting her proper sophomore studio album.

The mixtape is short, and because it’s an “intermediary” project it probably won’t do much in the way of significantly elevating her commercial status, but from a purely musical perspective there is a lot to like. While We Wait is more R&B-centric sonically and lyrically than her previous release; despite the typical prominence of pop, hip-hop and alternative influences in the production, there’s more emphasis on poetic, intimate songwriting (e.g. “Footsteps”). And despite guest appearances on nearly half the tracklist, Kehlani remains the project’s primary attraction, as she delivers impressive vocal performances on songs like “Nights Like This” and “Butterfly.”

So while we wait (pun intended) for her second album, which hopefully will be a breakthrough on the same scale as SZA’s Ctrl, enjoy Kehlani’s third mixtape below.

Enjoy While We Wait below.

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