New Apartment
New Apartment

Shea Butter Baby
contains a sample of "Space" written and performed by Galt MacDermot. "New Apartment" contains a sample of "Land of Passion" written and performed by Hubert

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This article is about the Ari Lennox album. For the song, see Shea Butter Baby (song). 2019 studio album by Ari LennoxShea Butter BabyStudio album by Ari LennoxReleasedMay 7, 2019Recorded2015–2019GenreLength44:22LabelProducer Ari Lennox chronology Pho
(2016) Shea Butter Baby
(2019) Singles from Shea Butter Baby
  1. "Whipped Cream"
    Released: July 16, 2018
  2. "Shea Butter Baby"
    Released: February 26, 2019
  3. "Up Late"
    Released: April 30, 2019

Shea Butter Baby is the debut studio album by American singer Ari Lennox. It was released on May 7, 2019, by Dreamville and Interscope Records.[2] The album was executive produced by Dreamville producer Elite. In addition, the majority of the album was produced by Dreamville's in-house producers: J. Cole, Elite, Omen, Ron Gilmore, and Christo, among others.

Contents Background

Ari Lennox was signed to Dreamville Records in 2015 after her music had been circulating throughout the label. Eventually, they flew her to their studio to work on references for Rihanna, but the songs wound up going to Lennox because she was "not really a songwriter for other artists," and wrote personal records for herself.[3]

Writing and recording

Ari Lennox began working on her debut album promptly after getting signed to Dreamville, and took four years to complete. Ron Gilmore spoke on the recording process and how the album evolved to its final form in an interview with Revolt saying:

“ There were different track-listings for sure. But, this is pretty much it. It was a long, tedious process to even get to 12 songs. There are more songs that are also good. It wasn't one of those situations where we thought we had the album before. Nah, we pretty much worked on what we worked on and maybe a month before , we came to grips with what was going to be on the album. I know the ones that we did in 2015 -- 'I Been' and 'Facetime'-- kept making it through the cut lists. It would be a tracklist and it would be 20 songs. Then, it was cutting from there, and cutting from there, and cutting from there until we got to 12.[4] ”

Ari Lennox told XXL about the experiences she expressed on the album saying "I’m singing about my first apartment, about liking broke niggas—if your soul is beautiful then who cares? I have this joint called “Static” I talk about my anxiety in a metaphorical way. Just a lot of sex, soul, romance and hip-hop."[5]

Singles and promotion

On July 16, 2018,[6] Ari Lennox released the first single, “Whipped Cream”, for her debut album, with an accompanied music video on September 5.[7][8] During November 2018, Ari released four promotional singles: "40 Shades of Choke", "Grampa", "No One" and "Pedigree".[9][10]

The title track being the second single "Shea Butter Baby" with J. Cole, was released on February 26, 2019, which first appeared on the Creed II soundtrack on November 16, 2018.[11][12] The song was accompanied by a music video on February 20, 2019 and surpassed three million views via YouTube within the first week. On April 30, Ari Lennox announced the release date and tracklist of the album, and released the single "Up Late".[13] A music video for "Up Late" was released on May 14, 2019.[14]


On March 27, 2019, she announced her first headlining tour, with the first leg beginning on May 12 and ending on June 14 in her hometown Washington, D.C., with supporiting acts Baby Rose, Mikhala Jené, and Ron Gilmore.[15]

Critical reception Professional ratingsReview scoresSourceRatingClash8/10[16]Pitchfork7.6/10[1]HipHopDX4.1/5[17]

Upon release, Shea Butter Baby received critical acclaim from most critics. Writing for Pitchfork, Ann-Derrick Gaillot said, "The debut album from the neo-soul singer-songwriter is driven by warm funk and soul and has the healing familiarity of hanging out on the couch commiserating with a best friend." The writer continued that the album "grounds the spiritual sultriness of neo-soul and R&B in irreverent frankness, subverting the idea that the modern self-assured woman must maintain a divine facade. There’s power, she suggests, in celebrating the imperfect and slightly messy, rather than chunks of reality polished smooth."[1]

Track listing

Credits adapted from Tidal.[18]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length1."Chicago Boy"4:482."BMO"2:263."Broke" (featuring J.I.D)4:024."Up Late"4:265."Shea Butter Baby" (with J. Cole)3:316."Speak to Me"3:447."New Apartment"3:568."Facetime"2:319."Pop"Jaylen Rojas2:1810."I Been"3:4111."Whipped Cream"4:4812."Static"4:11Total length:44:22

Sample Credits[19]




Charts Chart (2019) Peak
position US Billboard 200[20] 67 US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[21] 38 References
  1. ^ a b c d Ann-Derrick, Gaillot (May 15, 2019). "Ari Lennox - Shea Butter Baby". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 16, cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  2. ^ "Ari Lennox Drops Steamy New Track 'Up Late,' Announces 'Shea Butter Baby' Album Release Date". Billboard. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  3. ^ Maher, Natalie. "Ari Lennox on Her Love for D.C., Being Signed to J. Cole & Protecting Her Mental Health". Billboard.
  4. ^ Nelson Jr, Keith. "Studio Sessions: Ron Gilmore Jr. was Dreamville's secret weapon on Ari Lennox's 'Shea Butter Baby'". Revolt. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  6. ^ "Ari Lennox Releases Sweet New Single "Whipped Cream"". Complex.
  7. ^ "See Ari Lennox's Hard Reckoning in 'Whipped Cream' Video". Rolling Stone.
  8. ^ "Ari Lennox Is Jaded By Faded Love In Ethereal "Whipped Cream" Video". Vibe.
  9. ^ "Ari Lennox Shares New Songs "40 Shades of Choke" and "Grampa"". Complex.
  10. ^ "Ari Lennox Unveils Two New Songs 'Pedigree' and 'No One': Listen". Billboard.
  11. ^ "Ari Lennox & J. Cole Are Smoother Than 'Shea Butter Baby' For 'Creed II: The Album'". Soul Bounce.
  12. ^ "J. Cole & Ari Lennox Conjure Mystical Lust On "Shea Butter Baby"". HotNewHipHop.
  13. ^ "Ari Lennox Announces "Shea Butter Baby" Album & Releases "Up Late" Single". HipHopDX. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  14. ^ Meshal, Nada (May 14, 2019). "Ari Lennox Drops Stunning And Sensual Visuals For "Up Late"". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  15. ^ Spencer, Tallie. "Ari Lennox Announces Shea Butter Baby Tour Dates". Billboard. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  16. ^ Nicolas, Tyrell (May 15, 2019). "Ari Lennox - Shea Butter Baby - A powerful journey of self-belief told through a rich, neo-soul lens…". Clash. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  17. ^ Johnson, Cherise (May 16, 2019). "Review: Ari Lennox's "Shea Butter Baby" Is A Freak Nasty Experience For The Soul". HipHopDX. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  18. ^ "Ari Lennox - TIDAL". Retrieved 2019-05-16.
  19. ^ "Shea Butter Baby by Ari Lennox: Album Samples, Covers and Remixes". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2019-05-16.
  20. ^ "Ari Lennox Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  21. ^ "Ari Lennox Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
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