The first time I ever heard of Kehlani was on a track with G-Eazy, Lil’ B, and Iamsu!, right around the time that G-Eazy released that disappointment of a “first” album. I was into her immediately. So when she started releasing singles last year, all with the same album art, I got incredibly excited for her upcoming album. SweetSexySavage is her debut studio album, and it dropped on January 27th this year, although at least five tracks were released as singles ahead of time.
SweetSexySavage is a pop album for sure, with some elements of rap. It is apparently meant to show the three sides of Kehlani’s personality; Sweet, Sexy, and Savage. The deluxe edition clocks in at 19 tracks (with no features) and includes a song she apparently did for the Suicide Squad soundtrack. Most tracks on the album were produced by Pop & Oak, but Charlie Heat, Jahaan Sweet, and several others were also involved.
Overall, the album is really fun and quite impressive. Aside from the intro, I find myself dancing around or rocking out to every track. “Distraction”, “Undercover”, and “Do U Dirty” get stuck in my head all the time. Those three might also be examples of each of the personalities, with “Distraction” being sweet, “Undercover” being sexy, and “Do U Dirty” being savage, but I’m not sure. “CRZY” is definitely savage though. It is absolutely one of the hardest songs on the album.
There are two things about the album that I’m not the biggest fan of, however. First of all, I had thought that we, as a species, had agreed to stop glorifying infidelity and “side chick” culture in 2017, but “Do U Dirty” is about causing a guy to cheat on his girlfriend or cheating on her own boyfriend. It is really catchy though. Also, throughout the album, Kehlani borrows a few melodies and lyrics from existing pop songs, which is a bit iffy, but it’s not huge chunks of songs. The one that sticks out in my head the most is the verse in “Undercover”, where she uses the line and melody from Akon’s “Don’t Matter”: “[Nobody] wanna see us together/ but it don’t matter, no/ ’cause I got you”. The track “Distraction” also has parts that feel like existing songs.
Recommended Tracks: “Distraction”, Undercover”, Do U Dirty”, “CRZY”, “Piece of Mind”, “Personal”
RIYL: Jhene Aiko, SZA, Carly Rae Jepsen, FKA Twigs, Akon, Lil’ B, early G-Eazy