Drake owes at least as much to songstress Kehlani for his new tech app aesthetic, as he does to Migos or Kevin Gates or Kanye for his flows. The Oakland singer revels in the superficial rivalry of social media on “Jealous” recalling Teyana Taylor’s early concept candy “Google Me” while tinkering with a boyfriend’s hidden phone.
It’s the kind of drama that’s barely exciting in high school, and tragic outside of it. But Kehlani needs this playground of bleeps to flex her voice, which is pretty with rough edges and rasp. The shallow idea puddle of lines like: “you stay taking pictures, pictures/just to show them to your b*tches, b*tches/so you can make ’em jealous/I know just where you’re headed” don’t exactly scream #RelationshipGoals, but the hollowed-out core of “Jealous” is a place to vent about juvenile problems, not to assess them.
Kehlani has appeal in the same way Rihanna does, meaning it’s not her voice or her pristine mysterious look, but a combination of everything gliding into her words. She lulls and seduces by dragging out the soprano flutter, zipping up the bassline and tightening breaths to let the beat clap its way in. She’s low key pulling off a better Aaliyah than the ones name-checking Baby Girl as their icon.
This is a radio song without losing its character for the sake of format. Be prepared to hear it a lot.