Even though Ari Lennox has been in the R&B scene since the early 2010s, she did not fully break into the mainstream until the release of “Shea Butter Baby” ft. J. Cole in 2018. Since then, the Queen of Dreamville has been a beloved voice and personality, accumulating four million monthly followers. Continuing this success, she plans to release “age/sex/location” Sept. 9, and to help with that, she just released an unanticipated EP “Away Message.”
The first of the five track EP starts off hot with a constant and appropriate collaborator Summer Walker. The track is filled with callbacks, soulful singing and a rhythmic drum pattern that helps move the song along, so much so that you’re taken aback when the 4 minutes are already over.
“Tatted” lyrically is similar to her other sensual songs, but the chorus gets cemented in your head. Thanks to the production from OG Parker and others, it holds the classic r&b sound while still being unique to the rest of her contemporaries.
Gummy throws away the slow pace that was previously dominating the tape. Her flow is sharp and swift with a rhythm that is influenced purely by hip-hop. With a nod to pioneers like Missy Elliot and Busta Rhymes, this song is perfect for a kickback.
This track is groovy thanks to the slippery anthem-like chorus. Songs like "No Settling" make Ari a beloved member of the r&b community with her ability to connect, but old and new lovers of the genre.
Leaving the best for last, "Bitter" is the stand-out song of her recent releases. The brassy horns, the old soulful voice of Ari and the wonderful imagery in the lyrics all combined to make one of the better r&b songs of the year.
With the release of these five tracks, as well as singles such as “Hoodie” and “Pressure,” there is heavy anticipation for Ari’s third album. The release of this project would be the fourth release from Dreamville this year including members such as Earthgang, JID and the Gangsta Grillz mixtape. There has been other interesting decisions for the rollout of “age/sex/location” including a personal message from Ari Lennox to J. Cole and the Coca Cola advertisement.