With the announcement of J. Cole wishing to retire from the rap game, his plot for his Dreamville kin to take over is never out of the question. Washington D.C. singer/songwriter Ari Lennox releases her debut EP Pho as an introduction to a new Dreamville sound: jazz, soul and church, mixed with Southern swagger resonance.
Story | Nico Blitz
The story of Pho is the 25-year-old’s journey from a drink to a night of sexual pleasure. The first track “Yuengling” — a reference to Yuengling & Son, America’s Oldest Brewing Company — places us in Ari’s beginning of a good night.
“That yuengling make you do ya thang/All white docs and a pinky ring/Pop it so good make you wanna sing/All night long like the Mary Jane”
Immediately, the Revenge of the Dreamers 2 track “Backseat” becomes part of the storyboard. A couple drinks leads to car sex, which leads to the paramours on a night filled with spontaneity.
The next track “Night Drive” can be depicted as two things: literally driving around at night, or the motivation to integrate lust and drugs into their time together, inspired by the night. Evidently we find that Ari and her nighttime lover made it back to her place, where she finds absent roommates and an excuse from the cold weather — portrayed in “Cold Outside” — for him to stay.
A couple months go by and Ari still thinks about this man. “Goat” is the last installment of Pho and is her confession of having the best experience of her life. And no, Ari Lennox isn’t hoeing around as some may say, but rather she’s deeply into the spiritual experiences she sets herself up for.
Think of it this way. She sets herself apart by not selling sex as her way into Hip Hop. Although songs like “Backseat” and “Cold Outside” contain sexual lyrics, it does not give the same vibe that mainstream music (i.e. Anaconda by Nicki Minaj) does when pushing sex. She gives a sensual, passionate look toward having a night out — focusing on the spiritual pleasure that comes with intercourse.
For her debut project, Pho definitely sets the bar high for newcomers into the game. The Dreamville prodigy looks for quality in her music, where the 7-track EP definitely taps your ears like an unprecedented choir.