Kehlani delivered a dose of spring air on Thursday For those of us who don’t have backyards, with “Everybody Business,” a fresh single from the unnamed forthcoming album. The stunning self-directed video gives a golden-hour glimpse into the artist’s world during quarantine. From the isolation of her own yard, Kehlani faces the public to reclaim her personal narrative.
“Everybody Business” marks a new chapter, and you can hear it from the jump. This shimmering ballad takes a step out of the dark, intoxicating surreality of 2019’s While We Wait mixtape, shedding spacey synth swells for acoustic guitar and crystalline hi hats. The production is breezy, but by no means stripped down — every second is filled to the brim with rhythmic momentum and the emotive power of Kehlani’s pristine vocals. Lyrically, it’s direct and lucid as ever, with her unmatched ease of delivery and a nod to Pharell’s “Frontin’” on the hook injecting a carefree vibe to the song’s important message.
Opening with a clip of people chatting about Kehlani’s personal life and claiming she belongs “to the streets,” the video claps back to set the record straight. Serving as director, we get the chance to see this world through her eyes and understand that she belongs only to her damn self. This glance into her perspective consists of selective intimacy and grounded truth-telling—some shots have us peeking at the singer through leaves, as if we were part of the landscape, or lingering on her face as she crosses her driveway. Just as we are let into some of the most proximal mundane aspects of her existence, Kehlani looks into the camera and reminds us that we don’t know her like that.
An especially poignant shot has Kehlani cornered by screenshots of negative comments that pile up on either side of her. With her back literally against the wall, she pushes the noise away and sighs, “breathe through it all.” With the daily news cycle cornering each of us as we shutter in our respective homes, Kehlani’s buoyancy and grace can be a lesson to carry us through. “Everybody Business” is a call to return to the things that center us and remind us of the truth: that the self is its own only architect.