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Breaking down the Album ‘You Should Be Here’ by ‘Kehlani’

Released: 2015

Label: P2015

Featuring: Lexii Alijai, Chance the Rapper, BJ The Chicago Kid, Coucheron

Yo! If you’re vibin’ with the hip-hop scene, you know there ain’t no playlist complete without a dose of Kehlani’s soul-infused bars. Our focus today is her 2015 drop, “You Should Be Here” and man, what an album! Let’s unpack this gem track by track, marinated in Kehlani’s signature flavor.

Kehlani’s Oakland roots add an edge to her music, a gritty authenticity that permeates every beat, every line. Her hip-hop, R&B tinged sound finds a groundbreaking expression in “You Should Be Here.” The album is a goldmine, featuring artists like Chance the Rapper, BJ The Chicago Kid, and Lexii Alijai who bring their distinct styles to the mix, enhancing Kehlani’s vocal dynamism.

“You Should Be Here” is more than just a collection of tunes—it’s a chronicle of stories, of personal journeys, and life experiences, all threaded together with lo-fi beats, fluid raps, and lyrical brilliance. It encapsulates the essence of Kehlani’s journey, from the rawness of “The Letter” and the frank introspection of “Bright,” to the empowering aura of “Yet” and the tender longing of “Down for You.”

So let’s get into it. From the soulful opener “Intro” to the resonating strains of “Alive (feat. Coucheron),” here we are breaking down the album “You Should Be Here” by Kehlani.

1 Intro

2 You Should Be Here

Kehlani masterfully conveys the pain of emotional distance within a seemingly close relationship. Through poignant lines like “Your body is here, but your mind is somewhere else,” the song dives deep into the heartache of feeling alone next to someone who’s physically there but emotionally distant. The rawness of the lyrics paired with Kehlani’s soulful delivery makes for an emotionally charged anthem that resonates with anyone who has felt left behind by a partner who’s there, yet not truly there.

3 How That Taste

The lyrics resonate with vindication and success, encapsulating the sweet payback to those who didn’t believe in her prowess until she made it big. A particularly biting line, “But swallow that pride, tell me how that shit taste,” captures the essence of the song, throwing a direct challenge to the naysayers to accept her triumph. Kehlani’s narrative is about flipping the script, from being overlooked to relishing in the spotlight, emphasizing loyalty and the rise with her team, proving that those who stand by you in the lows deserve to soar with you in the highs.

4 Jealous

Features: Lexii Alijai

Lexii Alijai),” Kehlani and Lexii Alijai dive deep into the complexities of modern relationships, where social media plays a pivotal role in stirring insecurities. They highlight a scenario where actions meant to incite jealousy not only backfire but reveal deeper issues of trust and commitment. A particularly striking line, “You stay taking pictures, pictures just to show them to your bitches, bitches so you can make ’em jealous,” encapsulates the crux of the problem—performative affection that’s more about public perception than genuine connection.

5 Wanted

This track stands out as a testament to finding someone who values and cherishes you, shifting the narrative from a place of being undervalued to one of unequivocal appreciation. The lyrics, “When I loved you, I didn’t love me. You were this dark cloud hanging above me,” poignantly highlight the stark contrast between past despair and present fulfillment, portraying a profound upliftment through genuine connection and self-worth realization.

6 The Way

Features: Chance the Rapper

Chance the Rapper)” by Kehlani, the collaboration with Chance the Rapper delves deep into the intoxicating blend of infatuation and love, underscored by a groove that gets you nodding from the jump. Kehlani’s velvety vocals paired with Chance’s signature lyrical dexterity, offers a modern love anthem that’s both relatable and refreshingly honest. A standout line that really puts the song’s emotion into perspective is, “Never met someone who spoke my language. Never met a nigga done with playin’.” It’s a testament to finding that person who just gets you, changing the game entirely.

7 Unconditional

Through vivid imagery and candid confessions, she dismantles the illusions of perfection, making a heartfelt plea for a love that embraces imperfections. “I’m far from perfect, nothing even close / But that’s what makes me beautiful, that’s something you should know,” serves as a poignant reminder of the beauty inherent in authenticity. This track resonates as an anthem for anyone yearning for a connection that transcends surface-level allure, advocating for a bond that’s rooted in genuine acceptance and understanding.

8 The Letter

Profoundly personal, Kehlani articulates the confusion and longing for a bond never fully realized. “And every girl needs a mother / And, damn it, I needed you” painfully encapsulates the heart of the song – a plea for the guidance and love that was absent. This track stands out for its emotional honesty, enveloping listeners into Kehlani’s deeply personal narrative of coping with neglect and the quest for understanding.

9 Runnin’ – Interlude

Through vivid storytelling and introspection, Kehlani reflects on the complexities of love, connection, and the challenges of maintaining one’s authenticity. A standout line, “I know every man has a fear of a strong-minded woman,” speaks volumes about gender dynamics and the societal expectations placed on women, especially those striving for autonomy and success. Kehlani’s acknowledgment of her roots in Oakland and her no-nonsense approach to love and life resonate deeply, making “Runnin'” a powerful ode to self-reliance and resilience.

10 Be Alright

Through Kehlani’s soothing vocals, the song extends an olive branch to listeners, reminding us of the shared human experience of doubt and confusion. It’s a sonic embrace that reassures us that feeling overwhelmed is a universal sentiment, not a solitary struggle. The track shines with optimism, particularly in lines like, “Someone once told me babe when the tide is high, you just get low / Hold your breath and take it slow.” This lyric poetically encapsulates the song’s core message—riding through life’s highs and lows with grace and emerging stronger on the other side.

11 Down for You

Features: BJ The Chicago Kid

Their collaboration layers velvety vocals over a smooth beat, delivering a narrative of conflicted emotions and longing for something more. A standout line, “Love ain’t never been so close, but so far away,” echoes the torment of being caught in the gravitational pull of an almost-lover, showcasing the song’s raw, emotional honesty. This track is a heartfelt confession of being hopelessly committed, despite the uncertainties that weigh down the potential for something greater.

12 Yet

The song’s assertive lyrics speak to her journey from struggle to success, highlighting the artist’s transition from singing on the streets to making bank deposits and selling out shows. It’s a raw reflection on the inevitability of misunderstanding and false friendship in the face of change. One standout line that encapsulates this theme is, “But what is not growing is dead if you can’t understand get the fuck out my face,” underlining Kehlani’s determination to evolve despite others’ reluctance to accept her growth.

13 Bright

Through its introspective lyrics, the song addresses the struggles of conforming to societal standards of beauty and success. It speaks directly to those wrestling with their identity and self-worth, reminding listeners that true value comes from within. A standout line, “Can’t nobody love somebody that do not love themselves,” encapsulates the soul of the track, urging everyone to embrace their individuality and shine bright like the sun, undimmed by external judgments.

14 Alive

Features: Coucheron

Featuring Coucheron, they dig into the transformative power of moving past a deep love that has soured, finding liberation in letting go. The song eloquently navigates through the pain of a breakup, landing on a space of self-realization and rebirth. “It’s like something has to die / To help you realize / Damn, I feel alive” resonates as a powerful testament to the notion that personal growth often requires shedding parts of our old selves or moving beyond past relationships to truly embrace life. The message strikes a chord with anyone who’s ever found themselves emerging, reborn and stronger, from the ashes of lost love.

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