Tuning in with Leila: Shea Butter Baby


Illustration by Yasmin Haq

If you’re looking for a rhythmic, gloomy album to listen to — “Shea Butter Baby” by Ari Lennox is the one. With different arrays of sound and melancholy emotions presented in the album, Lennox delivers another enticing release.

Lennox dropped her album on May 7, leaving me astonished with her beautiful vocals and rhythms. After her well-loved single, “Shea Butter Baby” featuring J. Cole, was included in Mike WiLL Made-It’s album “Creed II: The Album,” fans have been eagerly awaiting new releases.

The 12-song album starts off with “Chicago Boy,” a track composed of hypnotic beats and slow rhythms. I like this song in particular because it makes me feel as if I’m at an extravagant restaurant at midnight.

“Broke” follows, featuring a rap by JID. This song gives off an empowering, awakening vibe that I believe to be the most inspirational song in the album. The song illustrates both artists’ journey to success and how they never let their previous states of mental and physical detriment bring them down from their luxury.

Directly after, “Up Late” addresses the loss of a man Lennox once adored, leaving her in a state of nostalgia and disorientation. Lennox uses the pulsating beats and heartfelt words to deliver her grieving emotions to her fans. This song would be the one I have on repeat after a devastating breakup.

A few songs later, “Facetime” contradicts the message of “Up Late.” In this track, she sings about calling up her “baby” to serenade him with all of her love and affection.

Lastly, “Static” ends the album with trumpets and uplifting melodies. This was a great song to end the album with due to its enticing sound and encouraging words: one of the many things Lennox always uses to lure her fans in.

Overall, “Shea Butter Baby” combines both desolation and merriment throughout its entirety by including meaningful stories. This album has taught me to stay independent and humble when going through rough times.