Album: Shea Butter Baby
Producer: Ron Gilmore

From the croak of her voice as it lilts in the presence of pain to the lusty soulfulness of her lyrics, Ari Lennox is always unafraid to show us the chinks in her armor. “I Been” is an instantly refreshing track in the back half of Lennox’s excellent debut album, Shea Butter Baby. As she stretches the limits of her staccato flow, Lennox narrates an all-too-familiar story of trying to forget an ex-lover, even when they did you wrong. “And I try, and I try, and I try, and I try, I try (ohh),” she sings. “But I'm havin' the worst luck on Tinder.” It’s millennial ennui mixed with a plume of smoke, a relatable string of moments, apps, and poisons over a velvety beat that digs its nails into the listener’s heart before releasing it with a doting touch. Ari Lennox is unquestionably a special storyteller. —Kish Lal