Adulthood is hands down the worst hood I've ever lived in. With the pressures of securing a bag, starting a family, and managing to keep your sanity at the same damn time, I'm just about ready to put in my two weeks when it comes to this whole adulting thing.
But the truth is, quitters never win, and winners never quit, that is, unless that means quitting your 9-5 at a Public Storage to meet J. Cole and sign a record deal that will change your entire life. At that point sis, you just have to let Jesus take the wheel.
Ari Lennox recently told the hosts of the Yes, Girl! Podcast that she was in this exact predicament before signing to Dreamville in 2015.
Although in the past, Ari has told a number of creative stories about how she actually signed to the label, the real tale is a lot less glamorous than tap dancing at a strip club in Alaska. The singer said that after J. Cole heard about her music through the grapevine, she had a chance to get flewed out and make the connection of a lifetime; there was only one problem: her minimum wage job. She explained:
"Yeah, I felt like no. I'm not doing this. I'm not getting on this plane. I was scared of planes and then also just got this job. It was $10 an hour. To me, that was way more important than meeting J. Cole."
Like most of us, Ari says that at the time, she was way too concerned with surviving to actually take the time to live. The pinnacle adulting is having your own place, and Ari said that although her job at the time didn't fulfill her dreams, it damn sure paid the bills.
"Because I really wanted an apartment really bad. I wanted to be not an F up. You know what I'm saying? And I always was getting fired and quitting jobs, so I was not going to ruin Public Storage, and I was excited about Public Storage because I knew eventually I could be one of those property manager people that had their own apartment on site. So I had these big dreams for Public Storage."
Ari is a testament to the fact that nobody can block your blessing (or your bag) like you can. Eventually, she became conscious of this fact, said f*ck it and hopped on a plane to LA, where they collaborated together for the first time for "Facetime", but after leaving and not hearing from Cole for months, she began to doubt her decision:
"Two months went by, I was like, 'Man, of course, I quit Public Storage for nothing. Nothing's going to come out of this.' But Cole did finally say, 'Yeah, we're thinking about signing you or whatever.' Real casual. I was like, 'Oh snap.'"
After four years of bomb singles and EPs, Ari recently released debut album, Shea Butter Baby and is rubbing shoulders with artists she may have never met if she played it safe and stuck around where she was comfortable. She explained:
"I just remember years ago being in a bed with my mom, looking at that screen, seeing Janelle Monae killing it and just wanting that so bad and then to fast forward and to be there."
Featured image by @AriLennox.