If you somehow missed it or maybe aren’t a fan (yet), Ari Lennox released her debut album–Shea Butter Baby–on May 7th.
Wasting no time, the first lady of Dreamville hits the road running with her Shea Butter Baby Tour just five days after the release and luckily for this writer The New Parish in Oakland, CA was stop number four.
In a smaller intimate venue you already feel the energy and the crowd yearning for Ari to come out. The opening acts from Ron Gilmore, Mikhala Jené and Baby Rose were a perfect pairing to go along with Ari and helped in setting the vibe.
When the time came for the Dreamville songstress to rock the stage, her team had set up with stage with a decorative chair, plants and a few extra lights. As she walks onto the stage the crowd is cheering and screaming, she soaks it in for a brief moment and jumps into the intro track “Chicago Boy” off Shea Butter Baby.
Although it hadn’t even been a week since the albums release, the crowd was right there with her singing word for word. As she went on to perform “Broke” you couldn’t help but notice how amazing she sounds live and continuously swaying her hips as she performed.
In between her set the DMV singer took it back to her PHO EP, which came out in 2016. She began to thank everyone in the building for their vibe and for hot-boxing the venue to the point where she was feeling high off contact.
Ari thanked Oakland and shared her love for The Town multiple times with her soft spoken voice before transitioning back to songs from her latest album. She’d go on to finish with the title track, no J. Cole surprise appearance (even though she tried to say he was).
After finishing the song, Ari quickly thanked everyone for coming out and told us she was going to go get some soul food and walked off stage as her band continued to play. I was left shocked as I was waiting to hear “BMO” all night and knew there was no way she couldn’t perform that song, the potential is huge for that track as a single.
Of course she quickly returns and says “I forgot one thing, I need you to break me off or something.” Everyone cheered, myself especially, as she capped off the night with “BMO” and touched the soul of Oakland.
Make sure you go see Ari Lennox on this tour if you can, so much talent and soul to miss out on.