Ari Lennox

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Ari Lennox
Ari Lennox (cropped).jpg
Background information
Birth nameCourtney Shanade Salter
Born (1991-03-26) March 26, 1991 (age 29)
Virginia, U.S.
OriginWashington, D.C.
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
Years active2013–present
LabelsDreamville, Interscope

Courtney Shanade Salter (born March 26, 1991), known professionally as Ari Lennox, is an American R&B singer-songwriter from Washington, D.C. She is the first woman to be signed to J. Cole's record label, Dreamville Records. She released her first EP Pho on the label in 2016, when she began gaining recognition. Her debut studio album Shea Butter Baby followed in 2019.

Early life[edit]

Courtney Shanade Salter was born on March 26, 1991 in Northern Virginia[1] and spent her formative years in the Washington metropolitan area. Her stage name was influenced by Mary Lennox, a character in the film adaptation of The Secret Garden.[2]

Musical career[edit]

2012–2017: Career beginnings and Pho EP[edit]

Ari Lennox began uploading her music on the internet in 2009. She released her debut mixtape, Five Finger Discount, and debut EP, Ariography, in 2013. In 2014, she independently released the single "Bound".[3] On July 21, 2015, she was featured on Omen's album Elephant Eyes on the track "Sweat it Out". Later that year, her music was circulating around the Dreamville team, as J. Cole wanted her to work with him on some references for Rihanna.[4]

On December 8, it was announced that she was signed to Dreamville Records. She made an appearance on the collaborative album Revenge of the Dreamers II, on the track "Backseat" with Cozz.[5][6] On October 21, 2016, she released her debut EP titled Pho.[7] Ari Lennox later appeared on J. Cole's song "Change", and performed as an opening act on the 4 Your Eyez Only Tour during 2017.[8]

2018–present: Shea Butter Baby[edit]

In 2018, she went on to guest feature on two songs with her label-mates: EarthGang on "Nothing but the Best", and Bas on "Icarus". On July 16, 2018,[9] Ari Lennox released the first single, "Whipped Cream", from her debut album, Shea Butter Baby with an accompanied music video on September 5.[10] On November 9, she released two more singles called "40 Shades of Choke" and "Grampa".[11] On November 13, she then released two more singles called "No One" and "Pedigree". She then appeared on the Creed II soundtrack with Cole on a track entitled "Shea Butter Baby" on November 16, and released as a single on February 26, 2019 for her debut album of the same name. The track was accompanied by a music video on February 20, 2019 and surpassed 3 million views via YouTube within the first week. In December 2018, she was a supporting act on the From East Atlanta With Love Tour with 6LACK.

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.[12] Her debut album, Shea Butter Baby was released on May 7, 2019. Several times on this tour she was opened by Baby Rose and Mikhala Jené.[13][14] She also went on the road with Lizzo on the Cuz I Love You Too Tour from July to October. The second leg of her headlining tour was in Europe, during December 2019.[15] In February 2020, Ari Lennox was placed on BET's "Future 40" list, which is a list of "40 of the most inspiring and innovative vanguards who are redefining what it means to be unapologetically young, gifted & black".[16]


Ari Lennox describes her own voice as "vulnerable but soulful; imperfect but pretty." Her voice has been compared to Erykah Badu. Referencing her artistry she explains, "Sometimes women are put in this box where we’re only supposed to talk about certain things, I want to be braver and riskier. I think people want to hear that kind of honesty and frankness."[17] Ari Lennox said in multiple interviews that she is inspired by 90s and 2000s R&B singers such as Erykah Badu, D'Angelo, Bilal, Whitney Houston, Aaliyah, Lauryn Hill, Amerie, Ciara, SWV, Mary J Blige, among many others, and soul singer Minnie Riperton. In an interview with The Fader, she also mentioned her admiration of Kanye West and how she found multiple other artists through him.[18][19] The Gateway described Ari Lennox's sound as "successfully blends individual slices of classic Motown, modern R&B, and new-age soul into one seamless product."[20]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions


Shea Butter Baby 67 38 7

Extended plays[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions


  • Released: October 22, 2013
  • Format: Digital download
  • Released: October 21, 2016
  • Label: Dreamville, Interscope
  • Format: Digital download
40 20
Shea Butter Baby (Remix EP)
  • Released: March 27, 2020
  • Label: Dreamville, Interscope
  • Format: Digital download


Title Details
Five Finger Discount
  • Released: January 5, 2012
  • Format: Digital download

Compilation albums[edit]

List of albums, with selected chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications


Revenge of the Dreamers II
(with Dreamville)
  • Released: December 8, 2015
  • Label: Dreamville, Interscope
  • Format: CD, digital download
29 4 3
Revenge of the Dreamers III
(with Dreamville)
  • Released: July 5, 2019[26]
  • Label: Dreamville, Interscope
  • Format: CD, digital download
1 1 1


As lead artist[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album

Bub. R&B/HH

Adult R&B

(featuring Cozz)
2016 Pho
"Night Drive"[32] 2017
"Whipped Cream"[34] 2018 Shea Butter Baby
"Shea Butter Baby"[35]
(with J. Cole)
2019 11
"Up Late"
"Got Me"[37]
(Dreamville with Ari Lennox and Omen featuring Ty Dolla Sign & Dreezy)
11 3 Revenge of the Dreamers III
"BMO"[38] 17 Shea Butter Baby
"Bussit"[39] 2020 Revenge of the Dreamers III: Director's Cut
"Chocolate Pomegranate"[40] TBA

As featured artist[edit]

List of singles as a featured artist, showing year released and album name
Title Year Album
"Nothing but the Best"[41]
(EarthGang featuring Ari Lennox)
2018 Royalty
(Kiana Ledé featuring Ari Lennox)
2020 Kiki
"Make Me Feel"[43]
(Skip Marley featuring Ari Lennox and Rick Ross)
Higher Place
"Black And White"
(Nasty C featuring Ari Lennox)

Promotional singles[edit]

List of singles as a featured artist, showing year released and album name
Title Year Album
"40 Shades of Choke"[44] 2018 Non-album singles
"No One"[46]
"If You Want Me to Stay"[47]
(with Anthony Ramos)

Other charted songs[edit]

List of songs, with selected chart positions, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Album

(J. Cole)[A]
2016 21 11 9 23 63 4 Your Eyez Only
"Self Love"[48]
(Dreamville, Ari Lennox & Bas featuring Baby Rose)
2019 21 Revenge of the Dreamers III

Guest appearances[edit]

List of non-single guest appearances, with other performing artists, showing year released and album name
Title Year Other artist(s) Album
"Tell Me"[49] 2014 Felly Milk & Sugar
"Sweat It Out"[50] 2015 Omen Elephant Eyes
"Icarus"[51] 2018 Bas Milky Way
"Sugar Walls"[52] Masego Lady Lady
"Link Up"[53] 2019 Buddy, Bas, Guapdad 4000, Kent Jamz, JID Harlan & Alondra
"Don't Hit Me Right Now"[48][B] Bas, Cozz, Yung Baby Tate, Buddy, Guapdad 4000 Revenge of the Dreamers III
"I Got You (Always and Forever)"[54] Chance the Rapper, En Vogue, Kierra Sheard The Big Day
"Amnesia"[55] Bas, Kiddominant Spilled Milk 1
"Time Today (Remix)"[56] BJ the Chicago Kid 1123 (Deluxe Edition)
"Cliché"[57] Wale, Boogie Wow... That's Crazy
"Cool Off The Rain (Remix)"[58] VanJess Silk Canvas (The Remixes)
"Passcode"[59] 2020 Buddy, Smino, Mez, Guapdad 4000 Revenge of the Dreamers III: Director's Cut
"Revenge"[59] Lute, Omen, EarthGang, Childish Major, Reason
"Real Body"[60] D Smoke Black Habits
"Black Men Don't Cheat"[61] K Camp, 6lack, Tink Kiss Five
"Long Nights"[62][C] 6lack 6pc Hot EP
"Marigold" Dave James, Mannywellz N/A
"Judas"[63] Spillage Village and JID featuring Ari Lennox, Buddy, Chance the Rapper and Masego Spilligion


  1. ^ "Change" features vocals by Ari Lennox
  2. ^ "Don't Hit Me Right Now" features background vocals by Ari Lennox
  3. ^ "Long Nights" features background vocals by Ari Lennox



  • Shea Butter Baby Tour (2019)


Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Year Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Soul Train Music Awards 2019 Best R&B/Soul Female Artist Herself Nominated [64]
2019 Album/Mixtape of the Year Shea Butter Baby Nominated
2019 Best Collaboration Performance "Shea Butter Baby" (featuring J. Cole) Nominated


  2. ^ Shultz, Alex. "Ari Lennox Went from Uber Driving to Headlining Her Own Tour". GQ. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  3. ^ Jeffries, David. "Ari Lennox Biography". AllMusic.
  4. ^ Maher, Natalie. "Ari Lennox on Her Love for D.C., Being Signed to J. Cole & Protecting Her Mental Health". Billboard.
  5. ^ Ortiz, Edwin (December 8, 2016). "J. Cole Signs Two New Artists to Dreamville Records". Complex.
  6. ^ Victoria Hernandez (December 10, 2015). "J. Cole x Dreamville "Revenge Of The Dreamers II" Cover Art, Tracklist & Album Stream". HipHopDX. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  7. ^ "Dreamville's Ari Lennox Releasing New EP".
  8. ^ "J. Cole Reveals 4 Your Eyez Only Tour Dates".
  9. ^ "Ari Lennox Releases Sweet New Single "Whipped Cream"". Complex.
  10. ^ "Ari Lennox's "Whipped Cream" Music Video: Watch". Vibe. September 5, 2018.
  11. ^ "Ari Lennox Shares New Songs "40 Shades of Choke" and "Grampa"". Complex.
  12. ^ Spencer, Tallie. "Ari Lennox Announces Shea Butter Baby Tour Dates". Billboard. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  13. ^ "Ari Lennox's Grown And Sexy Energy Wins NYC Tour Stop". Vibe. 2019-06-06. Retrieved 2019-10-27.
  14. ^ "Ari Lennox Delivers Intimate & Energetic Performance at LA Shea Butter Baby Tour Stop". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-10-27.
  15. ^ "Ari Lennox has been tapped to join Lizzo on U.S. tour". ABC News. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  16. ^ "BET DIGITAL CELEBRATES BLACK EXCELLENCE WITH NEW ORIGINAL EDITORIAL SERIES". Chicago Defender. 2020-02-07. Retrieved 2020-02-15.
  17. ^ "Ari". Dreamville. Retrieved 2019-03-11.
  18. ^ "Ari Lennox Is Singing Sensual Soul Cuts As Dreamville's New Artist".
  19. ^ "A Scattershot Type of Gal Like Ari Lennox".
  20. ^ "Album Review: Pho - The Gateway". 14 November 2016.
  21. ^ "Ari Lennox Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  22. ^ "Ari Lennox – Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard.
  23. ^ "Ari Lennox – Chart History - Top R&B Albums". Billboard.
  24. ^ "Chart History - Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums". Billboard.
  25. ^ "Chart History - Top R&B Albums". Billboard.
  26. ^ "Revenge Of The Dreamers III / Dreamville". Tidal. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  27. ^ "DREAMVILLE - REVENGE OF THE DREAMERS III". RIAA. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  28. ^ a b "Ari Lennox Chart History (Hot R&B Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  29. ^ "Ari Lennox Chart History (Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  30. ^ "Ari Lennox Chart History (Adult R&B Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  31. ^ Goddard, Kevin. "J.Cole & Dreamville Surprise Fans With Release Of "Revenge Of The Dreamers 2"". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  32. ^ "Dreamville's Ari Lennox Serenades Sweetness In New "GOAT" Music Video". OkayPlayer.
  33. ^ "Dreamville's Ari Lennox Takes it Back to School in "Night Drive" Video". The Source.
  34. ^ "Ari Lennox Returns With Soulful Remnants Of Love On "Whipped Cream"". Vibe.
  35. ^ "J. Cole & Ari Lennox Conjure Mystical Lust On "Shea Butter Baby"". Hotnewhiphop.
  36. ^ "ARI LENNOX - SHEA BUTTER BABY (WITH J. COLE)". RIAA. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  37. ^ Marie, Erika (June 12, 2019). "Dreamville Drops R&B Jam "Got Me" Ft. Ari Lennox, Ty Dolla $ign, Dreezy, & Omen". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  38. ^ Saponara, Michael. "Ari Lennox Bathes in a Heart-Shaped Tub, Serves Up Fierce Fits in Sultry 'BMO' Video: Watch". Billboard. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  39. ^ "DreamvIlle Drops Off 2-Pack of Ari Lennox's "BUSSIT" and EarthGang's f/ Reason "Still Up"". Complex. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  40. ^ @AriLennox (September 15, 2020). "Chocolate Pomegranate 😘..." (Tweet). Retrieved September 17, 2020 – via Twitter.
  41. ^ Robertson, Darryl. "EarthGang And Ari Lennox's Only Concern Is Putting Out "Nothin' But The Best"". Vibe. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  42. ^ "Kiana Ledé Reveals 'Kiki' Album Tracklist (ft. Ari Lennox, 6LACK, Lucky Daye & More) / Releases New Song 'Forfeit'". That Grape Juice.
  43. ^ "Skip Marley Connects With Rick Ross and Ari Lennox for "Make Me Feel"". Complex.
  44. ^ "Ari Lennox Releases Her New Single "40 Shades Of Choke"". HotNewHipHop.
  45. ^ "Ari Lennox - "Grampa"". Pitchfork.
  46. ^ a b "Ari Lennox Unveils Two New Songs 'Pedigree' and 'No One': Listen". Billboard.
  48. ^ a b "Listen to J. Cole's Dreamville's New Album Ft. Kendrick Lamar, Vince Staples, and More". Pitchfork. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  49. ^ Genius (31 October 2014). "Felly "Milk & Sugar" Release Date, Cover Art & Tracklist". Genius.
  50. ^ HipHopDX (16 July 2015). "Omen "Elephant Eyes" Release Date, Cover Art & Tracklist". HipHopDX.
  51. ^ Ivey, Justin (August 23, 2018). "Bas Releases "Milky Way" LP". HipHopDX.
  52. ^ "Lady Lady by Masego on iTunes". iTunes.
  53. ^ "Buddy Taps J.I.D, Bas, Guapdad 4000 & Kent Jamz For "Link Up"". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  54. ^ "The Big Day by Chance the Rapper". Apple Music. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  55. ^ "Bas Shares New EP 'Spilled Milk Vol. 1' f/ J.I.D, EarthGang, and Ari Lennox". Complex.
  56. ^ "BJ The Chicago Kid & Ari Lennox – 'Time Today' (Remix)". DefPen.
  58. ^ "VanJess Enlists Ari Lennox for 'Cool Off the Rain (Remix)'". Rated RNB.
  59. ^ a b "Dreamville Share "Revenge Of The Dreamers III Deluxe" Tracklist & Cover Art". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  60. ^ "D Smoke & Ari Lennox Explore The Human Anatomy On New Track "Real Body"". HotNewHipHop.
  61. ^ "K Camp Convenes With Ari Lennox, 6LACK & Tink For 'Black Men Don't Cheat' Single". HipHopDX.
  62. ^ "What's in a Name? Just call 6LACK the hood therapist". Vulture.
  63. ^ "EarthGang Reveals Spillage Village's "Spilligion" Tracklist". HotNewHipHop. September 18, 2020. Retrieved September 26, 2020.
  64. ^ Tigg, Fnr. "". Complex. Retrieved 4 October 2020. External link in |title= (help)