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Who is Ari Lennox? Dreamville’s first lady bringing real R&B vibes back

As long as R&B has been apart of hip-hop it feels weird saying the genre is making a comeback. Yet, here we are, and the past couple of years with the new wave of artist have made it feel just that. From H.E.R to Eryn Allen Kayne, Solange, SZA, and many more, one could argue there has been a renaissance of sorts.

Whether it’s the integration of the trap sounds in R&B or the influx of artist due to industries now low barrier of entry, the platform and market for singers haven’t been this broad in a while. And J.Cole’s Dreamville has taken note, enlisting their first woman signee, Ari Lenoxx.

With influences of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Minnie Riperton and Whitney Houston, one could say Lennox is a modern version of a classic sound. With a soft, soulful, imperfectly pretty voice, she’s one of a kind, yet makes it work very well for herself.

Thank’s to fellow label mate, Omen, who found her while stumbling across SoundCloud and featured her on his Elephant Eyes album on the track “Sweat it Out”, J.Cole got to see her first hand, leading to an eventual deal. 

“I didn’t think they were interested at all,” Ari tells Nessa in a 2017 Hot97 interview.

“They kept in touch and they were like: ‘I think I wanna sign you’.”

Two EPs later and she’s already built a fanbase and has a considered classic under her belt with her project, Pho.

The D.C native singer/songwriter admits that most of her songs are about her longtime ex, and it shows as her lyrics take you places you feel like you’ve been before. It’s both her relatability and melodic touch that makes her such a wonder.

Just a couple of weeks ago she released her first single since 2017 with “Whipped Cream.” The song debuted on Zane Lowe Beats 1 World Radio and was produced by fellow Dreamville signee, producer Elite.

The song is fitting for summer and shows her growth and comfortably with her sound. Along with Cozz, Bas, Lute, and the host of other Dreamvile artists, Lennox joins a team that has a prestige that speaks for itself.

As a representation of that label, and from what we’ve heard so far, it’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for the 27-year-old songstress from the nation’s capital.

Listen to her 2016 project Pho here: