Sweatin’: Jeremih and Kehlani

Jeremih – Late Nights: The Album

No contemporary R&B singer has squandered his talents in the last eighteen months on useless guest appearances than this drummer by training, and if his record label woes are true I suppose he’s gotta remain in the public eye. After YG collaboration “Don’t Tell’Em” and “Planes” (“Here they go, playing verbal grab-ass again, with Jeremih in the Miguel role,” I wrote in February, the same way Miguel played the sensitive love god for Jeremih bro J. Cole). So it’s a pleasure to report that the singer’s faith in Late Nights is justified. With Vinylz and London on da Track frontloading, the near flawless first half shows trying his best to act tough for the sake of Migos on “Giv No Fucks” but comes off as another dude in heat with a damp croon. When he’s not doing that, he sticks to a staccato delivery as if words were hyphenated syllabically on lined paper (“Feel Like Phil”), or were sprayed like buckshot (“Planes”). And in the Percocet zombie state of “Royalty” (on which Future reprises his own opiod and strippers anthem released a few months ago) he can slow it down. Big Sean has the song’s big reveal (“When we fuck, you like the finger in the asshole”), but Jeremih is the open libertine, posing as a scenester bored with VIP lounges who, like Miguel, would rather have coffee in the morning, preferably after the molly’s worn off and his casa stops smelling of Patron and the hangover’s as big as his erection. That’s what the finale “Paradise” delineates over an acoustic arpeggio. “Two Tylenols and a smoothie/Work out and maybe jacuzzi” sounds like a delightful morning. ‘Thirteen new texts, man they jockin’/That’s just more checks in my pocket” — guess he does love those J. Cole appearances after all, until marketplace shifts tell him he’s not supposed to.

Kehlani – You Should Be Here

Listening to Late Nights I wondered how Kehlani would inhabit the same tracks. R&B but less interested in aural novelty, You Should Be Here chronicles the life of an adult woman who gets over lovers better than she did her mom, the subject of a near masterpiece of confessional angst called “The Letter.” The twenty-year-old Kehlani Parrish’s debut is thicker, less aqueous than Tinashe or Jhene Aiko’s work. Chance the Rapper gets his best post-Donnie Trumpet appearance.

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