El Paso artist’s ‘location’ is on top of the charts



“American Teen” is Khalid’s debut album.

Rebeca Partida Montes, Features Editor

With a debut album sitting pretty at the #9 spot of the Billboard 200, freshly nineteen-year old Khalid is experiencing a whirlwind of emotions over his unprecedented success in the R&B music scene. Labeled as an “up-and-coming” artist as well as “the image black youth America needs,” Khalid has proved himself to be an artist that’s here to stay, and one with a drive behind the music.

According to Billboard, “American Teen” sold 37,000 copies its first week. At 15 tracks, Khalid creates space and time for those who seek love, a broken heart, and young-spirited individuals. His lead single “Location” first appeared on the Billboard charts after its release in August of 2016. Since then, the song has racked up over 50 million streams and was a driving-force behind his first-week sales and high-peaked album.

Born Khalid Robinson, he grew up as what he considered an “army brat.” Being raised by a single mother who was a member of the U.S. Army Chorus, Khalid was constantly on the move with his family before settling in EL Paso last year to finish his senior year of high school. With the constant moves, Khalid became comfortable with solitude which he said in an interview with The FADER, helped drive his creativity because nothing and not one could stop his thoughts.

“American Teen” is a mixture of soulful vocals with youthful beats. Exploring love in songs like “Young Dumb & Broke,” it creates a monologue of a lost one searching for some meaning in life and love. Khalid’s chorus explains his life: a repetition of the words “young, dumb, broke high school kids.”

“Another Sad Love Song” and “Saved” explore heartache and searching for closure and something to help the singer move on. While most of the music on “Saved” is very simple, Khalid’s lyrics carry all the meaning of the song. A heartbroken man missing his lover, only to come to an unexpected turn of moving on at the end of the song.

Other songs like “8TEEN,” “Let’s Go,” and “American Teen” are songs of a kid getting through life through whatever means necessary, whether it be getting high, or doing adventurous things with friends.

While Khalid’s lyrics are more than likely to attract a younger audience, his voice and writing can be acknowledged and respected by many. At a young age, Khalid is making a bold statement in the music industry with backup vocals on Kendrick Lamar’s newest single “HUMBLE.” Recently, “Location” was also remixed by Khalid’s good friend Kehlani, a Bay Area artist, and Lil Wayne, who has worked alongside Drake, Nicki Minaj, and other R&B and hip-hop artists.

“American Teen” is available on iTunes and Amazon.