Ari Lennox on Her Upcoming J. Cole Collaboration 'Shea Butter Baby': 'He Absolutely Killed It'

Paris Cole
Ari Lennox

With Mike WiLL Made-It as the head honcho of Creed II: The Album, it’s no surprise the project includes the best of the best, with tracks by hip-hop giants like Lil Wayne, Nas, Rick Ross and Nicki Minaj. Listed right in the middle of the immensely star-studded track list is the sweetly titled song “Shea Butter Baby,” a collaboration between Ari Lennox and J. Cole.

“This is such an honor. It’s one of the biggest things that’s ever happened to me,” Ari Lennox humbly told Billboard on the Creed II premiere red carpet in New York City. “Creed is such a real, amazing and phenomenal franchise, so this is insane. It came out of nowhere. I had the song written for a while, the label submitted it and the director just happened to love it. I feel lucky as hell.”

J. Cole, put it best when he rapped, “Dreamville stacked like the Warriors,” in his recent “Album of the Year (Freestyle),” as his team boasts enough talent to be able to keep most things an in-house affair. “Shea Butter Baby” is produced by Elite, Dreamville’s go-to producer, who has been an undeniable staple during the making of nearly every Dreamville release.

“Elite was doing what he does, producing, and it sounded beautiful. I was just going for Missy Elliott mixed with Raphael Saadiq vibes, and it all worked out and Cole hopped on it about a month ago and changed my life again. It sounds great and he absolutely killed it,” Lennox said.

Although Lennox did appear on J. Cole’s 2016 album, 4 Your Eyez Only, she considers “Shea Butter Baby” as their first “full” collaboration. “He’s always changed my life and he’s always looking out, but this is the first time we have a full collaboration and we’re both killing it together. ['Change'] was like me being a sweet bird in the background. In this song, we’re killing it together.”

Since dropping her PHO EP in 2016, Lennox recently released a slew of new singles within the last few months: “Whipped Cream,” “Grampa,” “Pedigree” and “No One” as she gears up for her new album, which she confirmed is titled, Shea Butter Baby.


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