Capturing the Magic of Ari Lennox




Courtney Shanade Salter, better known as Ari Lennox, has used her raw talent to climb the ladder to comfortability all throughout 2019. In such little time, she’s brought so much flavor to the Dreamville record label, founded by J.Cole. Ari was signed to Dreamville in December of 2015 after independently releasing some of her own music years beforehand. A year later, the singer released her first EP titled Pho. My first impression of Ari Lennox came from this EP, and just from hearing the first track, Yuengling, I was absolutely tuned in and excited to see what would become of the artist.  She sings lyrics to represent millennials over instrumentals that reflect the past. Ms. Shea Butter Baby incorporates with a blanket of honesty for an intimate listen.

Lennox holds the title as the first lady of Dreamville, and exhibits strength to carry the R&B side of the label that’s beyond impressive. Ari Lennox has certainly proven to be the soulful vocalist that J.Cole promoted to the world. Being well-rounded and versed, the singer has no problem blending musically with the rest of the Dreamville posse. Musical intelligence aside though, the songstress makes sure to remind us that she’s still a woman trying to find her way through the static of not just love, but life. There’s magic in the ability to ooze vulnerability over beats that can invoke a few body rolls and some shoulder bouncing.

Back in May, the 28-year-old singer gifted us with her debut-album titled ‘Shea Butter Baby’.


Ari Lennox presented twelve tracks to express who she is, what she’s gone through, and how she’s dealing with it in a digital age. Ari exhibits growth, security, and control over the ups and downs of where she is in life. She understands how to take the swirl of emotions amongst Millennials and make sense of it. Emotions that seem basic such as happiness, indifference, or sadness, are strengthened once they meet the passion that waits behind her vocals.

Shea Butter Baby kind of points toward two general directions; comfort and discomfort. We have songs like ‘Whipped Cream’, ‘Pop’, and ‘I Been’ that paint a realistic picture of what heartbreak, the fear of surrendering to love, and leaving a lover behind looks like. Other songs like ‘BMO’, ‘FaceTime’, and ‘Speak To Me’ reflect finding comfort in sexual needs, pillow talk, and feeling helpless to craving someone’s attention. In 1-2-3-order, my favorite tracks on the album are New Apartment, Facetime, and Pop.

 In hindsight, listening to this album really does feel like having a few glasses of wine with some friends and recounting funny stories about the past. There’ll be lots of laughter, lots of “OOP”-ing, and maybe even a few tears, but the warm hugs given out before your friends leave is what brings it all full circle.