New York R&B duo Lion Babe conjure the spirit of J Dilla with their seductive new single “Honey Dew.” Lucas Goodman nods to the late producer with his clanging, just-off-the-beat percussion, thumping synth-bass and dusty piano. “Everybody wants a piece,” vocalist Jillian Hervey croons over the low-simmering funk.
The Simen Sez-produced “Honey Dew,” the group’s first release of 2018, follows their December stand-alone single “Rockets” featuring rapper Moe Moks.
Goodman and Hervey began their collaboration with the 2012 single “Treat Me Like Fire,” which propelled them to a record deal with Interscope. That track drew the attention of rapper-singer Childish Gambino, who guested on their 2013 song “Jump Hi.”
Lion Babe issued their self-titled debut EP in 2014, followed by their first studio album, Begin, in 2016. The record includes lead single “Wonder Woman,” co-written and produced with Pharrell Williams.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Goodman recalled marveling at the Neptunes producer’s spontaneity and speed in the studio. “He was just so quick, flipping through sounds on his laptop while he probably had three sessions going at once,” he said. “He made some loops and put them on a flash drive and just said, ‘You guys mess around with this and then come back with something.'”
Hervey added that her lyrics for the LP focused on the theme of “empowerment.” “I was reflecting on the way so much of soul has these simple, standalone messages that become classics,” she said.