It's been three years since Ari Lennox officially joined J. Cole's Dreamville roster and now the singer is finally prepping the arrival of her debut album, set to get here in MAy. In a recent interview, Lennox and her team spoke with Billboard about the grueling process of Lennox's debut, with Ari voicing the double-edged sword of developing a project for so long.

"Everything happens for a reason,” she tells the publication, “and I feel like it makes me stronger. But I’m also just like, ‘Yo, it’s time for this project to drop [...] A lot of these songs I’ve been holding on to for a long time. I just want the world to hear them. And then, finally, I can exhale.” 

Lennox's manager, Justin LaMotte also adds that Lennox's build has been a strategic build, as indicated by her documented growth with her "Shea Butter baby" and "Whipped Cream" singles, placing her in her rightful position at the forefront as Dreamville's only non-rapper signee.

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 “R&B just takes some time to bubble,” says LaMotte, who also adds the fact that it took six months before "Shea Butter Baby" impacted radio. “Ari’s on a hip-hop label, but she doesn’t need to release music as rapidly as her labelmate. We can move at our own pace.”

"There is a bit of a long game you have to play in R&B," adds Laura Carter of Interscope Records, with whom Dreamville struck a joint deal in 2014. "As Ari is developing and her story is coming out, we’re seeing momentum kick in. Older tracks, and those that came out as loose releases are now getting the special attention they deserve.”