5 Reasons We Can't Get Enough of Kehlani

5 Reasons We Can't Get Enough of Kehlani

Why the 22-year old R&B sensation is the next big thing.

Why the 22-year old R&B sensation is the next big thing.

Text: Jacob Seferian

The Oakland-born singer has been on the verge of super-stardom since 2015, generating buzz with her mixtape You Should Be Here, which would eventually be nominated for a Grammy Award in 2016. But despite her critical endorsements, much of the mainstream world continued to sleep on Kehlani. Now, thanks to the radio success of her single "Gangsta" from the Suicide Squad soundtrack, the 22-year-old is finally getting the attention she deserves.

Poised for worldwide domination, V lists some of the reasons we are obsessed with Kehlani.

1. Her flawless style. 

Dressed up or dressed down, Kehlani never fails to impress. Not to mention she's gone through countless hairstyles in the past year, and spoiler: she rocks them all. Her many outfits are chronicled and showcased on her Instagram, which commands 3.4 million dedicated followers.

If she keeps up this level of slayage she might even begin to rival, dare we say, Rihanna?

second weekend was incredibly beautiful, thank you for energy I'll never forget #kehchella

A post shared by Kehlani (@kehlani) on

2. Her explosive Coachella 2017 set, featuring a political touch. 

In a journey she playfully dubbed #kehcella on Instagram, the singer took center stage during the first weekend of the famed music festival. Her energetic performance earned her rave reviews. The LA Times called her set "one of the weekend’s most sheerly pleasurable." But Kehlani didn't only come to entertain, she also used her platform to spread awareness about the recent string of young women of color who've gone missing in the Washington D.C. area. She wore white overalls with "Find Our Girls" painted on the front while performing fan favorites like "Good Life" and "Gangsta."

Watch the full set here.

3. Her old school dance moves. 

Picking up where T-Boz and Ciara left off, Kehlani's music videos always feature a healthy sprinkle of classic house party moves. That's not to say she can't destroy a lap dance or two (see "Distraction").

via GIPHY

4. Her debut studio album is the freshest R&B-pop record in years.

Released last January, SweetSexySavage is one of the more exciting R&B pop fusions in recent memory. While the radio doesn't lack influences from either genre, Kehlani's label debut effortlessly merges the two, delivering 19 tracks that occupy a territory once dominated by Beyoncé. But the Oakland-native's sound avoids early 2000s trappings, and the result is a polished record that sounds an awful lot like the future.

"As women we are told that we cannot be multi layered...we are put in boxes...we can't be all the above...reclaim yourself…The name is supposed to challenge you," she reportedly tweeted regarding the album's release.

5. Her resilience in the face of intense personal struggle.

Following a highly publicized suicide attempt in 2016, many wondered if the up and coming singer would return to music at all. Thankfully, she did, and triumphantly so with "CRZY," released only a few months later. While lyrically it did not directly address the incident, the song is a proclamation of her drive and talent. "All this shit I've been through and it made me more of an assassin / I kill 'em, I kill 'em, I kill 'em with compassion," she sings. In the music video, we see the budding superstar dancing emphatically, making it clear that nothing can hold her down.

Kehlani's recovery serves not only as great gain for the music industry, but also an inspiration for anyone who's refused to let a rough patch define them.

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