So, over the past almost twenty years, we've been on the search for the Next Lauryn Hill. From SZA to Jhene Aiko to Ashanti to Tink, fans have been quick to anoint someone to this throne. Why? Lauryn is the GOAT and who doesn't want their favorite artist to become that revered?
Enter Kehlani, the latest to have the crown thrust upon her, and You Should Be Here. The album starts off with a dedication to those who were lost away and how she wishes they should be there to see her--and share in her--success(es). The first two songs, the title track and "How That Taste" feature typical twenty-something bragging. So far, there’s nothing nothing special.
Then “Jealous” hits. "Jealous" is Weeknd-esque and “real.” It calls out dudes who take pictures to make other chicks jealous. It's a simple theme, but a real and raw one. “Niggas” is a song that is full of post-Drake self-awareness. “Wanted” is a track that liberally borrows from early-2000s Missy and Ciara tracks and adds in some Ghost Town DJs for good measure. From that song on, we get the overarching theme of the album: reinventing/reusing musical themes Kehlani probably grew up on and presenting them for an 18-30 demographic in 2015. This is in addition to Kehlani adding in a heap of rawness with every word sung.
As ambitious as this album is, I think it’s horribly unfair for people to compare Kehlani to Lauryn. They are two different artists. Kehlani is more of an Adina meets Aaliyah meets Missy combo with a bit more Auto-Tune added in. And Lauryn? She’s Lauryn Hill. But, You Should Be Here is one of the better R&B albums of the past year or two because of its rawness and self-awareness.
Final Verdict: Buy