Tag Archives: Dreamville

Artist to Watch: Ari Lennox


Dreamville Records’ colorful songstress, Ari Lennox, fuses timeless vocals with laid-back jazzy instrumentals to create a unique R&B soundscape fit for listeners of all ages.

The 25-year old DC native, born Courtney Salter, has been turning heads since the release of her first ep, Ariography, in 2013. This heartfelt and funky project contrasts intimate songs like ‘La La La La’ and ‘Magic’ with fierce uptempo tracks like ‘Inhale me Deep’ and ‘Mumbles’ to display her resilient range.

In late December 2015, Ari announced her signing to Dreamville Records and near-simultaneously appeared on the label’s collaborative album ‘Revenge of the Dreamers II’. Ari and fellow Dreamville artist, Cozz, emerge on the album’s standout song ‘Backseat’ providing playfully sexual lyrics and catchy melodies. I had never listened to Ari before her compelling presence on the Dreamers’ album and immediately became a fan. Watch Lennox and Cozz perform ‘Backseat’ live in the video below.

After much anticipation, Lennox released her debut album ‘PHO’ last October which featured previous hit songs ‘Backseat’ and ‘La La La La’ as singles. She describes her passionate album as something “braver and riskier” while keeping the sound “modern, relaxed” and “reminiscent of the beautiful music of the 70′s.” The hypnotic, jazzy production provided by Dj Grumble supplements Ari’s luscious vocals in songs like ‘Cold Outside’ and ‘Goat’. Exciting and intense songs like ‘Night Drive’ and ‘Backwood’ convey the projects tremendous energy with fervent horns and bold lyrics. If you enjoy soulful vocalists I recommend exploring Ari’s colorful discography.

For fans of: Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Aaliyah

Robert B

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birthday shoutout: Jermaine Lamarr Cole

it’s January 28th, so you know what that means.

and if you don’t know what that means, it’s rapper J. Cole’s birthday!

i’ve been following J. Cole since he released Friday Night Lights in 2010, so when he dropped 2014 Forest Hills Drive, i was ecstatic (probably an understatement).

and, with good reason. the album grew on me a lot, and i still listen to it pretty religiously, though it’s been out for over a month now.  i’ve gotta hand it to J. Cole, this album is, in my mind, a classic. i’m a sucker for clever wordplay, catchy beats, and Cole-style oversharing, so i guess it’s no surprise i feel this way.

since the album came out, i’ve been trying to write a “review” of sorts. i’ve jotted thoughts on each song, analyzed lyrics, yadda yadda yadda. and i have GIVEN UP. i can’t do it. it’s so hard to review something that you feel like no matter how many times you listen to it, you learn more about it and recognize new things, because whenever you start to review, you feel like you’re shortchanging the artist (i promise this is not just me).

so i’ve decided to “review” the album in a different way that speaks to its strengths: i’ve chosen my favorite* lyrics from each song. and i’m gonna share them. i’m doing this because if you haven’t listened to the album, you will definitely want to after catching this quick peek into the songs.

*my favorite for now, that is

here goes:

1. “Intro” 
“do you wanna be, free / Free from pain, free from scars / Free to sing, free from bars”

2. “January 28th”
“What’s the price for a black man life? / I check the toe tag, not one zero in sight”

3. "Wet Dreamz" 
“I’m thinking how that body look naked when you laying on the bed / Teacher, please don’t make me stand up”

4. "03’ Adolescence”  
“I got food for your thoughts to soothe your soul / If you see my tears fall just let me be /Move along, nothing to see”

5. "A Tale of 2 Citiez"  
“Anybody is a killer, all you gotta do is push ‘em to the limits / Fuck being timid in the Civic politicin’ with the pushers and the pimps”

6. "Fire Squad”
“While silly niggas argue over who gon’ snatch the crown / Look around, my nigga, white people have snatched the sound”

7. "St. Tropez" 
“Lately / It’s been hard for me to smile”

8. "G.O.M.D.“ 
"Why every rich black nigga gotta be famous / Why every broke black nigga gotta be brainless”

9. "No Role Modelz"  
“But then I thought back, back to a better me / Before I was a B-list celebrity / Before I started callin’ bitches "bitches” so heavily / Back when you could get a platinum plaque without no melody"

10. “Hello”  
“Reflection bring regrets don’t it / Rejection makes you defensive / So you protect your pride with your reflexes”

11. “Apparently" 
"Keep up, never sure where the words would take me / Niggas eat em up, and regurgitate me”

12.“Love Yourz" 
"It’s beauty in the struggle, ugliness in the success / Hear my words or listen to my signal of distress”

13. “Note to Self" *** 
“I don’t mind cuz I don’t matter”

*** side note: this is the, as Cole calls it, role credits. so it ends in a long monologue and he references Jonah Hill & Dale Earnhardt Jr. as playing a part in the album, and right after says:  "I’m just fuckin’ playin’, I don’t know either one of those two dudes. I don’t know either one of them niggas, I was in the moment. I just lied, I don’t give a fuck.“ that’s my favorite part of the whole album because he is so damn goofy, even after how awesomely deep and real the other songs were, and it’s just cool to see his personality displayed through talking, not even rapping. <3

hopefully this makes you want to listen to the album, or if you already have, maybe you like it more now. 😉 

happy january 28th! 


xoxo, gnovs