Photo Credit: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

The R&B J. Cole? Kehlani's 14 Best Features, Duets, & Collaborations

kehlanis-best-songs-features-duets Photo Credit: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Kehlani's artistic excellence and ability to overshadow other artists on a track make her the R&B equivalent to J. Cole. We rank the singer's best features, duets, and collaborations.

Three years ago, Kehlani released her debut studio album SweetSexySavage. The LP is resilient in its cloudy R&B nature. blending the melodic pop cadences of the early 2000s with the present sound of Bay Area hyphy and '90s hip-hop soul. It finds Kehlani baring her soul in the throes of a rollercoaster partnership while discovering her artistic worth and meanings of womanhood in the process.

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Whats most impressive about SweetSexySavage is that it's an entirely solo project. Seventeen tracks. No guests. This was a completely different challenge for Kehlani: shes collaborated with many artists throughout her career. In a way, her work ethic and ability to shift the momentum of a song with her artistic excellence is what makes her the R&B equal to J. Cole, who had his own run of impressive features throughout his career.

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In honor of the anniversary of her debut and her appearance on Justin Bieber's new single, "Get Me," here are Kehlanis top 14 features and collaborations.

14. "The Way" Kehlani & Chance The Rapper (2015)

Over the years, Kehlani has built an earnestness in her affectionate vocal style. On this staple, from her second mixtape, You Should Be Here, she delves into the many reasons why she is in love with her partner. Both artists execute a regal sense of chill over a leisurely beat.

13. "Get Me" Justin Bieber & Kehlani (2020)

In his quest to bring back R&Bieber the pop star enlisted the expertise of Kehlani for a slinky new single. With a pumping pulsation that fuels their lyrics about looking beyond the surface both croon you get me on the songs hook. In recent news, its been announced that Kehlani will be one of the co-openers for Justin Biebers tour for his upcoming album, Changes.

12. "Ring" Cardi B & Kehlani (2018)

Cardi Bs Grammy award-winning debut effort, Invasion of Privacy, stood out not only because of the Trap Selenas vivacious personality, but also for her ability to balance the turn up with scorned vulnerability. At the heart of her softer records is Ring, which fittingly hears Kehlani singing you dont hit my line no more in the addictive hook. The song eventually peaked at No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100.

11. "Footsteps" Kehlani & Musiq Soulchild (2019)

On While We Wait, Kehlani expresses a deeper maturity when it comes to discussing love. Shes a bit more introspective in her lyricism, taking more time to engage her male antagonists point of view. On Get Away, from her debut mixtape, Cloud 19, the singer wonders why the love of her life let her walk and didnt pursue her. Interestingly enough, on the track Kehlani mentions how Mr. Soulchild was the music playing in the background during their tense moment. Five years after Cloud 19s release, Kehlani finds herself duetting with Mr. Soulchild himself in a full circle moment explaining When I walked away, I left footsteps in the mud so you could follow me.

10. "Change" Arin Ray & Kehlani (2019)

At the heart of this duet is a '90s vibe, one that captures the soulful feeling of R&B, according to Arin Ray. Although Change utilizes the break up to make up trope thats popular in R&B vernacular, the chemistry between both stars is what sets this collaboration apart. The song holds a vibe of hip-hop soul, with both artists exchanging rap verses with one another.

11. "Nunya" Kehlani & Dom Kennedy

Kehlanis sound has always been smooth especially when shes at her most ruthless and savage. Nunya goes right after that signature formula, as the singer finds herself telling her ex aint nunya business about what she does after their break up. Dom Kennedy, who at times has a Too $hort-like flow, answers back in playboy style while acknowledging I admit it, I admit/If I saved her phone number then I did it. Ultimately, its Kehlani who wins this West Coast back and forth with her sharp punchlines.

8. "wRoNg" ZAYN & Kehlani (2016)

Its so tight, our song is super tight, is the way that Kehlani described her feature to Hollywire before ZAYNs album Mind of Mine dropped. ZAYNs Mind of Mine is an essential R&B release of the 2010s, really showcasing the former One Direction bandmates ability to blend his Pakistani origins with the sounds of ethereal British R&B of the early 2000s. Its only fitting that Kehlani would end up as the sole feature on that project, as shes got the mysteriously sweet and laid back demeanor to balance that vibe.

7. "How We Do Us" Kehlani & Kyle Dion (2014)

Cloud 19 honed in on the '90s baby energy that distinguishes Kehlanis brand of R&B from a majority of her peers. How We Do Us immediately starts with an interpolation of Montell Jordan's classic This Is How We Do It.The energy of How We Do Us is lively, spirited, and lighthearted, channeling a similar house party feel to its original source. "How We Do Us became a critically-acclaimed break out moment for Kyle Dion who has since made waves with his 2019 album, SUGA.

6. "All Me" Kehlani & Keyshia Cole (2019)

Repping her native Oakland, Kehlani excited fans when she announced there would be a feature with an R&B queen. On December 19, 2019 Kehlani tweeted the queen of Oakland, heartbreak anthems and vocals straight from the heart ...guess! Immediately fans knew that would be Keyshia Cole, who opens up her verse with I know that Im a movement, movement all by myself. All Me is reminiscent of Keyshia Coles Just Like You run from 2007 one that cemented her as a multi-platinum selling icon of her R&B generation. The baton passing full of ayy! adlibs makes for a jubilant affair, offering a party anthem that could rock well in the spring and summer of 2020 if cards were played right (pun intended).

5. "All In" Mr. Carmack & Kehlani (2015)

Originally meant for the Songs From Scratch series where producers pair with vocalists to create in the moment tracks, All In carried so well that Mr. Carmack, an electronic DJ hailing both San Francisco and Hawaii, decided to include the four-year-old track on his 2019 vocal compilation album, VIISTA. Kehlanis angelic voices creeps and lingers over a spellbinding arrangement of keys, as she vows to go All In and get past the halfway point between what we say and what we mean.

4. "Nights Like This" Kehlani & Ty Dolla $ign (2019)

Fans didnt know what to expect from Kehlani when she dropped the first single from While We Wait. What they received was a different sound that found Kehlani experimenting with Asian Pacific musical elements and genres such as Tokyos citywave. Nights Like This is soothing and calming aesthetically, although Kehlani coos about being jilted by another woman who decided to be with him though. The him is played by Ty Dolla $ign, a king in his own right at R&B features and collabs.

3. "Down For You" Kehlani & BJ The Chicago Kid (2015)

Kehlani received a Grammy nomination for her second mixtape, You Should Be Here. On that prized jewel is Down For You which sings at the heart of neo-soul. BJ The Chicago Kid makes an impressive appearance, explaining the friends-lovers dynamic through his verse But let me tell you one thing going through a nigga's head/Most nigga's just scared.

2. "RPG" Kehlani & 6LACK (2019)

RPG stands for role playing game, and thats exactly what both artists do over this jazzy and loungey instrumental. Throughout the hook, Kehlani requests show me your love after verses acknowledging that her partner does certain things after the she complains about the lack of attention she receives. In 6LACKs verse he sums up the generational romantic battles that couples his age experience in todays dating scene: Past life aggression, life time lessons, carryin' a message/Real life angels, battlin' depression.

1. "Morning" Teyana Taylor & Kehlani (2019)

Kehlanis bisexuality has been a key factor in her discography (see: Cloud 19s 1st Position and While We Waits Nights Like This). Shes loud, proud, and boastful about her attraction to women; the opportunity to express these desires best presented themselves on Teyana Taylors Morning. A sensual duet inspired by the antics of Neve Campbell and Denise Richardss characters in the 1998 film Wild Things. On the album art, Kehlani and Teyana Taylor recreate the movies poster art floating heads in a swampy pool. On the song itself, both women harmonize perfectly with each other in the background of their verses and the hook. Morning feels as the title suggests: It blows easily in a synthy wind as both ladies sing about their sexual urges softly. Morning is Kehlanis best feature because its her in her cool element she sounds confident and in control.


DaShan Smith is a pop culture writer based out of New York City. You can followhim@nightshawn101