Ari Lennox Drops “Shea Butter Baby” (Remix EP)

R&B Queen Ari Lennox released her infamous album, “Shea Butter Baby” a year ago – although it’s quite hard to fathom it’s been this long since she has dropped a project. Within that year, Lennox has not been M.I.A. at all, but rather working alongside her collaborators – most notably her features and contributions to Dreamville’s “Revenge of the Dreamers III: Director’s Cut” were highlighted, proving her a key asset to the label.

Lennox proved with her attributions to Dreamville’s latest album that she can hold tracks entirely on her own, while also being able to perfectly complement other’s artists she is collaborating with on a track.

Lennox stood in her individual power as an artist originally with the release of “Shea Butter Baby” with having only two features on the entire album – keeping it in the family, the only artists featured on the album were the founder of the Dreamville label, J Cole and signed rapper, J.I.D.

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However, “Shea Butter Baby” (Remix EP) shows Ari leaning towards playful collaborations during this period of self-isolation we are all enduring. “Shea Butter Baby” (Remix) only contains three tracks – each track adding new energy to the original tracks that the featured artists bring to the table. Not only is Lennox glistening in her ability to join forces with dynamic artists – but she is also giving fans collabs that they have been patiently waiting and hoping for.

Lennox’s original version of the track “BMO” was a hit single off the album, and still to this day is one of her most popular tracks. “BMO” has an incredibly soulful quality to the beat – which isn’t surprising for Lennox is known to embody the ’90s inspired R&B ballads with her jazzy vocal rifts.

However, “BMO” has a frisky and fiery nature to it as well. Lennox’s vocals take a back seat and she instead steps into a more dominant demeanor – almost half rapping the irresistible hook with a delivery that gives off a more aggressive spirit.

On the remixed track of “BMO,” Lennox really leaned more into that carefree, yet feisty quality to this track with the perfect feature, rapper Doja Cat.

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Doja Cat is the epitome of sugar, spice, and everything nice. She embodies a dual-energy that is both bubbly and fierce. This is a collab that we have all been craving and anticipating – as Doja’s teasing approach to the bars, paired with Lennox’s more passionate, assertive delivery of vocals makes this the ultimate quarantine pick me up.

The second track Lennox decided to remix is “I Been.” On the original version of the track “I Been,” Lennox immediately dives into the hook, switching miraculously into euphoric high notes that almost seem to blossom into jazz scatting. On the remixed version of this track, featured rapper, Smino begins this song instead with his usual lackadaisical, raspy bars.

Smino and Lennox have worked together before in the past, as Smino contributed quite a lot to the recent Dreamville album. Their past collaborations have proved that Smino’s more casual, yet bitter quality to his voice seems to balance out Lennox’s emotionally charged vocals. This remix of “I Been” is no different, as Smino’s introduction to the track is a blissful segue into Lennox’s sensational vocal rifts – allowing for her voice to be emphasized and spotlighted.

The last track off the EP, “Facetime,” features artist Durand Bernarr – whose voice glistens on this track, stealing the high notes usually reserved for Lennox as his silky vocals are embedded in the background.

Bernarr’s solo moment in this track is not one to forget – his vocals flow beautifully over the hard drums. His voice quivers melodically in the soaring notes he is able to achieve on this track – so that when Lennox joins in, the converging of their voices creates a sensation of church bells singing.

The track winds down with Bernarr and Lennox whistling and screeching in ecstasy. “Facetime” (Remix) is the ultimate love track for those in Quarantine – as Lennox and Bernarr touch on the immense desire to be physically close to their love who is completely out of their reach, so they must settle for a facetime date.

“Shea Butter Baby” (Remix EP) is a more dreamy, flirtatious rendition of the original tracks – showcasing Lennox’s power to make hit tracks on her own while simultaneously being able to pick ideal collaborators who will only add, not take away from the light she illuminates.

“Shea Butter Baby” (Remix EP) explores a long-distance love – physical and emotional satisfaction is expressed in the form of bellowing and pleading vocals. This makes “Shea Butter Baby” (Remix EP) the ultimate match for those in self-isolation and quarantine. Put on this EP and let Lennox transport you.

Maddy Ipema

My name is Maddy Ipema, and you can usually find me with headphones blaring and a book on my lap! I am a senior at Columbia College Chicago, where I am majoring in fiction writing. I love writing in all forms, and mostly work in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry! Music is my main source of inspiration for life as well as my writing!

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