Kehlani's been pretty busy over the past year with her pregnancy, her healthy-living app and her Sunday Gems podcast, but fans have been anxiously awaiting new music since her last album, SweetSexySavage, in 2017.
On Twitter, the Oakland-raised singer has been teasing her upcoming mixtape, and she gave fans a taste Thursday with a new track and music video, "Nights Like This," featuring Ty Dolla $ign. In the sci-fi music video, a cyborg love interest happens upon Kehlani's doorstep. Serving major mad scientist vibes, Kehlani takes her into her workshop and brings her back to health; the two fall in love, and Kehlani teaches her cute cyborg bae to be human by re-potting houseplants and painting her nails.
But as Kehlani sings the refrain, "You was mine but you decided to be with him, though," things take a dark turn. The cyborg puts her hands on Kehlani's heart and appears to take over her body. When Kehlani wakes up, she burns her girlfriend's lifeless body (wait, what?!) and repeats the heart-stealing operation on Ty Dolla $ign when he arrives at her secluded lair to sing his featured verse.
Cyborgs have a long history in queer and feminist theory. In 1984, scholar Donna Haraway wrote the essay "A Cyborg Manifesto," about how cyborgs defy the binary of human and machine. In doing so, they invite us to rethink other dichotomies such as gender, opening a new world of possibilities of how we relate to our identities and sexualities.
"The cyborg is a creature in a post-gender world," Haraway writes.
We'll see how this theme plays out in Kehlani's new mixtape, which is reportedly coming soon.