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If there’s one factor we learn about Ari Lennox, it’s that holds on tight to her independence and freedom. The room to function as she pleases and exist as she is has change into a foundational facet of the music she creates, and it’s obtained properly by her listeners. “New Residence,” from her debut album Shea Butter Baby, was championed by girls throughout as a result of it completely encapsulated a recent begin and that second of peak independence. Not like the world past the 4 partitions of this dwelling area, every part that occurs inside them happens at your discretion. Inside them is a judgment-free zone. Ari’s quirky moments roam simply as free as her soulful and confession moments.
On her second album Age/Intercourse/Location, Ari appears to be like to construct this identical world for herself past these 4 partitions. Previous to the album’s launch, J. Cole shared a text message he obtained from Ari the place she detailed what the venture meant to her. In her prolonged response, she unveils her want to dam the destructive she’s skilled in love and relationship whereas permitting and accepting the constructive that she very a lot deserves. Whereas all of it is a working progress, one thing she refers to because the transitional phase to her present “eat pray love” journey, Age/Intercourse/Location places these needs to work in what appears like a digital testing floor of kinds, all earlier than enacting them in the actual world.
Proper out the gate, Ari steps forth with an unforgiving authority on Age/Intercourse/Location. The intro observe “POF,” which is sprinkled with background vocals from J. Cole, strikes as a tense and confrontational dialog over dinner at a dimly-lit fancy restaurant. Voices are low and anger is saved internally for the sake of not making a scene, however Ari’s phrases pierce just like the knife that lays on the plate in entrance of her. “The audacity to lecture me about your Christianity / Then flip round and attempt to f*ck on me / Prefer it was gon’ be simple,” she sings with a dismissive layer wrapped round her phrases. Just some songs later, on “Pressure,” the aforementioned pressure is swapped for a gleeful double entendre that confidently instructs a person precisely what she needs. Ari yanks the tie of her love curiosity and pulls him shut whereas daring him to boldly declare his effervescent want for her.
Elsewhere on the 12-song venture, she closes the door on love in some situations with the identical conviction that she opens it in others. “Waste My Time” is pushed by enjoyable and lighthearted manufacturing that will be welcomed on a lady’s night time out playlist. As soon as once more, Ari dares her companion to place their phrases to motion. “Use that mouth, blow this again out,” she quips on the document. Whereas it’s equally titled and contextually paying homage to Brent Faiyaz and Drake’s “Wasting Time,” the male duo’s document lives in a little bit of toxicity whereas Ari’s is seductive, inviting, and consenting of a no-strings-attached one-night affair.
Nonetheless, Ari isn’t a one-for-all lady and Lucky Daye is sadly the person who has to be taught that. His slick-talk and player-esque traces on “Boy Bye” fail to do sufficient to earn him the identical night time that the person on “Waste My Time” obtained. It’s to not say that Ari’s curiosity isn’t piqued as she provides an ear to the aftermath of Fortunate’s preliminary cat calls, however she reads his strategy as bland and formulaic. Whether or not or not it’s his lack of authenticity or validity behind her claims of getting a person, Ari leaves Fortunate to just accept that he got here up brief regardless of his efforts.
Whereas many use the title observe for his or her album as a second to develop on the venture’s central theme, Ari creates a skit that does simply that in 37 seconds. “Once you’re again within the recreation / That’s how you’d greet somebody, A-S-L,” she says calling again to the album’s title. “Taking part in on chatrooms, web, assembly individuals / Like, that is relationship.” Age/Intercourse/Location is Ari’s superb forays into the relationship world with every one starting with the straightforward particulars of 1’s age, intercourse, and placement. Whereas these forays can finish in steamy, sweaty, and passionate bed room magic, as detailed in “Leak It” with Chloe – a euphoric and dreamy duet that sees each singers able to reveal (or leak) an unfiltered facet of affection that can solely depart them leaking in satisfaction – its conclusion is also another aligned with “Blocking You.” As soon as that “a/s/l” immediate is answered, there’s no telling the place issues can go. With Age/Intercourse/Location, Ari hopes to depart with one thing with each roll of the cube.
On Age/Intercourse/Location, Ari Lennox indicators right into a digital world that might simply be her actuality. The place Shea Butter Child begged and hoped for reciprocation by looking for an in-person connection versus a digital one (“Facetime”), reassurance (“Communicate To Me”), or a vow of continued love (“Pop”), Age/Intercourse/Location calls for that reciprocation whereas promising a stop in communication and interplay with out it. As she navigates the twists, turns, dangerous climbs, and unprotected freefalls of her present “eat pray love” journey, it’s with extra self-discipline and elevated knowledge from previous missteps.
Age/Intercourse/Location is out now through Interscope and Dreamville. You possibly can stream it here.