Review: Kehlani Brings The Jams To ‘You Should Be Here’ Tour Stop In New York City

Live Reviews

Kehlani brought the waves to New York City’s Highline Ballroom on Sunday night (July 12). The Tsunami Mob leader strutted out at 9:30 p.m. on the dot in her camouflage green jumpsuit and “You Should Be Here” bomber, signifying the name of her current nationwide tour and latest EP.

READ: Kehlani Breaks Down Her ‘You Should Be Here’ Mixtape Cover Art

The venue was packed with her diehards, who had each lyric committed to memory. “I ain’t really gotta sing,” she joked with the crowd. “Y’all can sing it for me.”

The Oakland songstress otherwise known as Baelani has amassed a loyal following since her humble beginnings on America’s Got Talent, propelling her visibility with the 2014 Cloud 19 EP, a head-bopping mix of feel-good R&B, come-hither tunes and self-healing ballads (“Tell Your Mama” will make you pick up the phone and call up your queen STAT). Despite being homeless during her come-up, Kehlani finds her real crib in the spotlight. From body rolls to ’90s music swag sequences (she busts a move with her backup dancers to Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It” and carries the tune of Musiq Soulchild’s “Just Friends,” both sampled on her projects), she hit millennials’ sweet spots with nostalgia.

READ: Jenga With Kehlani: 25 Things You Should Know

Kehlani still kept it fresh by whippin’ and Nae Nae’in’ where applicable, and incorporating sounds of the 6 with her own renditions of Drake’s “Preach” and “Legend”. Not only do her musical tastes resonate with her audience, she speaks the same language. Kehlani hosted a small “f**kboy” exhibit on stage (note: “sidepieces” in his device is a red flag) before jumping into her song “N***as.” Her pro-youth messages were also welcome. “Y’all know, whatever y’all do, you ain’t never alone, right?,” said Kehlani, as if looking every fan in the eyes while giving herself kudos for making it here. “Make noise for this generation.”

Set List:
You Should Be Here
Preach with Ambre Perkins (Drake)
Legend (Drake)
Deserve Better
How We Do Us with Kyle Dion
Act A Fool
1st Position
Tell Your Mama
Raw & True
Till The Morning
The Letter
Runnin’ (Interlude)
Down For You
Be Alright
The Way