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Hangover Sweats, Pedicures, and Vibrating Chairs: I Took Kehlani to a Pampering Parlour

I spoke with Oakland's coolest popstar about playing card games with Krept and Konan, as we had our toenails done at a trendy place in West London.
March 2, 2016, 2:00pm

This article originally appeared on Noisey UK.

OK, I’m just going to be open with you, I did my Kehlani First Date the day after the VICE party and was feeling awful. I felt extra bad about this because I know Kehlani’s had quite a tough life and had to work hard to get where she is, and then there I am, sweating profusely and doing comedown burps. Anyway, it actually turned it out really well, I think. Partly because Kehlani is a really good-natured engaging person and partly because we got pedicures—and having someone play with your feet is literally the nicest possible feeling on a hangover.

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If you don’t know Kehlani, she’s a very cool pop star from Oakland. She’s had a tough family life, which you can read about in her excellent Fader cover interview and was homeless for a while, before Nick Cannon kind of swooped down like a guardian angel with a buzzcut and started her on the path to a music career. In 2015, she released a bunch of music that was a kind of rap-R&B hybrid that was like Drake but with better production, including her killer You Should Be Here mixtape and the trap-heavy single “Did I.”

I didn’t ask her about any of that as we got our nails done at a place in West London, but we did talk about playing card games with Krept and Konan, dealing with fame at the age of 20, and flying squirrels.

Noisey: Do you often do this kind of pampering stuff?
Kehlani: I’m really big on it when I can, yeah. I haven’t had time recently which is why my toes look so neglected right now but—hold on, the massage chair is beating me up, I can’t talk—I’m really big on massages, aroma therapy, facials.

Would you ever do this on a real date? I think it would be too intimate to get your feet out.
If that’s the person you’re with, they’ve seen your feet anyway. Unless you have sex with socks on which is completely strange.

[I notice Kehlani keeps staring at her phone]. Wait—who do you keep texting. Are you on a group thread?
No. I’m actually Whatsapping the guy from WSTRN. We’re all going to hang out tonight.

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Their tune is great isn’t it?
It’s amazing, I almost bought the ringtone to it.

I’ve not heard anyone chat about buying ringtones for ten years and you have mentioned it twice today [Kehlani was deep into purchasing Star Wars ringtones when we met]. What's the best ringtone you’ve ever had?
I didn’t have it but I heard the best one the other day. We were all sitting at Krept and Konan’s house playing this card game. It’s called Mafia, it's really intense. Anyway, someone came over and right in the middle and his phone goes “I know when that hotline bling.” It was so funny.

Sorry, rewind. You played a Mafia card game with Krept and Konan?
Yeah, we were all drinking at their house. I actually showed them how to squeeze the lime into a beer, real Californian style. Konan had a broken foot so we were watching him drag himself upstairs, step by step.

What happened?
First he told us he was fighting a bear. Then he told us the truth: he was bouncing on a trampoline. But it was so adorable watching him walk up the upstairs. When we all sat down he was like—“we’re going to play a card game. It’s called mafia.” It got real heated, people were standing up and yelling “you’re the mafia.” It was crazy.

Who won?
I can’t remember, it changed every time, but every time someone lost they had to take a shot. Then we played this game where you had to say “so I went to the store and I bought a balloon and then the next person has to say, ‘OK I went to the store and I bought a balloon and a dog’ and then the next person says ‘OK I bought a balloon, a dog and a fruit”—and you have to remember that. Then we played concentration, which is where you keep a beat and then say things within a topic. We did Drake songs and I think Konan won. Then we did 90s R&B songs and I won, of course.

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I can’t believe you played kids party games with Krept and Konan, this is really going to ruin their cred. OK, what would you do if you were in my situation AKA having the worst hangover in human history?
Pedialyte.

Pedialyte?
It’s like Gatorade x100. It’s basically the stuff they give to babies because they cry and they sweat and they shit and pee so much, all they’re doing is ejecting fluids. But athletes drink it too. It's a tour secret that Young Jeezy put me on when we were on our first tour. It replaces electrolytes and gets rid of the hangover so fast, but we used to get to the point where we’d drink and just chase with Pedialyte.

Can you be quite wholesome? Do you ever feel like Gwyneth or whatever? Or are you quite like give me a burger?
Well, I’m a weed smoker, so I usually follow the munchies. But now the munchies come with the voice in the back of my head that reminds me that I have to look cute. So I can’t just be eating burgers all the time, y'know?

I know. It’s hard for people like us isn’t it.
I have to get on my salad game and all that shit .

It’s so hard to take you seriously when you’re gently vibrating on that massage chair.
It feels so good. I really needed this massage actually. I really want mine to kick into gear.

Is it not working properly?
I don’t think so. Or maybe I can’t feel it through my big coat.

Excuse me, excuse me—how do we turn this on?
Oh! Oh, there it goes. Christ alive.

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It seems like there’s so much stuff to know when you’re a girl—from getting massages to taking good care of your skin. How did you learn how to do makeup and earrings and stuff?
I think there’s different reasons girls learn to do these kind of things. Some girls want to be makeup artists, and they go through all the measures like that. Some girls are just wanting to feel like they have good skin when they walk out, so they learn how to put dots on their face. Some girls… there’s all different reasons. It just depends. Some girls don’t even wear makeup. I have my specifics. I always like to have my nails done; I always like to have my feet down. I always like to have my moustache waxed, you know what I’m saying?

I mean, I wouldn’t have a clue.
And my eyebrows. These are my preferences.

You’re from Oakland right? If we had a day off in Oakland what would we do?
We’d go get some good ass weed from somebody’s cousin.

Oh. So it’s not a dispensary situation?
Not in the bay. We’d get some good weed from somebody’s cousin who’s probably under house arrest and can’t leave their house and has to sell out the house but it would be really purple. It would be great and it would be cheap, but it would be cray weed. We’d probably go to a taco truck in East Oakland.

How’d we get around by the way, we driving?
No we’d catch an uber. If I wasn’t popping we’d catch the bar but that would be a hassle. We can’t catch the train. So we’d get an uber, we’d go to the taco truck, maybe get some steak fries if you’re down for that. Steak and Shrimp fries from by the lake. We’d probably go to this really dope view by this hike that I do by this highschool called skyline, and its just a really nice view of the whole bay area.

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Is it like a mountain hike? Like you go up?
Yeah. Everyone goes, smokes, and watches the sun go down.

Shit that sounds really great. Do you miss it when you’re away?
Not really. What is there to miss when everything I’m doing now is exactly what I wanted to do. What am I going to miss? Like sitting on my ass and smoking weed on the hill? You know what I mean. It doesn’t feel accomplishing.

Whenever I see you in interviews you’re being jokes and talking about smoking weed and stuff, but when I see you on Twitter and Instagram you’re super serious.
Well, I don’t have a Twitter so whoever’s pretending to be me is being very serious.

Wait, isn’t that you? I just went through loads of your… is that not you: @kulanimusic? You’ve got Instagram right?
Yeah, it's just Kelanu. I should put back in my bio ‘no Twitter.’

Did you ever have Twitter?
I did, but it got me into a lot of shit so I deleted it. I’ve been Twitter free for five months now.

Sounds like AA.
Hi my name’s Kehlani and I’m a Twitter addict.

What trouble did it get you in?
I think one thing for my fanbase is they forget that I’m the same age as them. If you’re coming at me crazy, I’m going to come at you like a 20-year-old to a 20-year-old. Not like a 20-year-old talking to a 27-year-old who could be like you’re a child—do you know what I mean? To me I’m still like, "bitch," because we’re the same age. If you were to walk up to me in the street and say any of those things in my face, we’d probably be fighting. It doesn’t matter to me about any of that fan vs person or whatever status. It’s like human to human, girl to girl, women to women: You disrespected me, I’m going to come back. So I don’t know.

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I know what you mean, when you see someone on the TV you just assume they’re a responsible adult and people forget.
Especially with me. I’m 20 you guys, I’m 20.

It is mad that you’re 20—you’ve had such a busy life.
Yeah, it’s been ridiculous.

I know you had a particularly tough time growing up, so does everything feel a bit strange now? I guess it’s different because a lot of people, especially British artists—Mumford and Sons, Florence and the Machine, etc.—they’re posh people from posh backgrounds, they went to fancy schools… I guess they enjoy it but it's kind of what they’ve always had, you know?
I think for me, because I didn’t know anything about fancy—like, when I was broke I wasn’t sitting there saying "well one day Ima have all the latest shit on the runway that I can’t name." I was like, I’m going to invest, I’m going to pay my family’s rent, I want to be able to send my brother to college, you know what I mean? I don’t obnoxiously spend. I go to Nike, get a couple of pairs of shoes. Now they send me shoes so I don’t have to buy them anymore. I don’t really buy any clothes. I sponsored this whole tour off of my own money. We don’t have any tour support, this was 100 percent my money for this—the tour bus, the lighting, the microphone, the costumes, the flights, all that’s me. Where I live, the studio time, that’s where I put my money. I don’t have anything obnoxious.

I always think about that Katy Perry song where she’s like “Shout out to everyone who went drinking with their rent money.” It’s like, fuck off Katy Perry, that’s a terrible thing to do. Do you have to pay rent? And if you do, does that make you more aware of the image that you present?
I’m trying to be rich living like I’m poor, not poor living like I’m rich you know what I mean. You see how small my chain is—it’s tiny.

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Let’s see. What is it?
It’s my logo. But it’s small.

So what else are you doing while you here?
[ordering crisps] I’m going to get so fat this December.

Same.
I’m all about it, just embracing it. I went in a shop yesterday and put on some trousers and was like “gonna need a size bigger”.

I did a Young Thug interview recently and he was talking about how he’d quit drinking, quit drugs, while sipping on a giant cup of something. It was jokes.
I feel like rappers just say stuff in interviews for the fuck of it. Ima start doing that at some point.

Do you want to drop something in this interview?
I got to hurry home, my pet alligator probably tore my shit up right now.

Whats your pet alligator called?
His name is Mouse.

Do you have any pets?
I used to have sugar gliders.

Excuse me?
It’s the cousin of a flying squirrel. It’s like this big—[stretches her hands out]—and when it spreads its wings it can glide.

Is this real?
Yeah. They sit in a little pouch and you can wear the pouch round your neck and they just poke up.

Shut up. No way. Show me.
I used to have them. Then we went on tour, so we missed the bonding time. By the time we got back they weren’t interested. They did not fuck with us.

What did you do with them after that? Justin Bieber—leave them in a hotel?
Sold them to this old couple. I met his monkey before, my friend used to babysit his monkey.

You’ve worked with Bieber right? But it wasn’t IRL, it was over the internet.
We can’t talk about it because. Can you stop recording so I can tell you.

OK I’ll stop recording.

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