Shea Butter Babies, grab your silk scarves and your sage!
After a handful of EP and mixtape successes, Dreamville’s First Lady and R&B soulstress Ari Lennox released her debut project Shea Butter Baby in the midnight hour of Tuesday (April 7).
Ari smooths over 12 tracks with raw, penetrating vocals that ascend into octave ranges and dip into deep vibratos all while enriching the project with the lifeblood of classic jazz and R&B. The DMV-bred vocalist becomes her most intimately, sexually and vulnerably lyrical self from the opening track, “Chicago Boy,” into rhythmic cuts like “Broke” with Dreamville labelmate J.I.D., all the way to the “Shea Buter Baby” title track and lead single with J. Cole and delightfully brassy “New Apartment.” Often likened to a modern-day Erykah Badu for her distinctively high-wired sopranos and three-octave range, Ari unapologetically lets her Type 4 curls down for her breakout debut studio project and invites all of her shea butter babies to do the same.
And judging by the fans’ reception of the album within less than a day since its release, they’re all following suit (including Cole himself and fellow D.C.-native rap poet and devoted Ari Lennox fan, Wale):
(Photo: Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for BET Networks)