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Happy Birthday Ashanti ๐ŸŽ‚


With hitmaker Irv Gotti at the helm, Ashanti blasted into the urban music scene in 2002, topping the charts with multiple singles at once. She quickly became a sensation, gracing the covers of magazines and dominating urban radio. Ashanti built her reputation with duets, where she would complement an already popular rapperโ€‰โ€”โ€‰Ja Rule (โ€œAlways on Timeโ€), Fat Joe (โ€œWhatโ€™s Luv?โ€œ), the Notorious B.I.G . (โ€œUnfoolishโ€)โ€‰โ€”โ€‰contrasting the tough-guy male perspective with her own. It didnโ€™t take the young vocalist long to make a name for herself though: her debut album topped the Billboard album chart just as her debut solo single, โ€œFoolish,โ€ was topping the Hot 100 chart. Her presence was inescapable. Ashantiโ€™s overnight jump to superstardom followed that of Ja Rule , a similar urban music sensation helmed by Gotti . The New York producer took notice of Ashanti initially because of her beauty, dancing, and acting. She trained as a dancer at the Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center, learning a number of dance styles. She danced most notably in Disneyโ€™s Polly, which starred Phylicia Rashad, and also appeared in a number of big-name music videos, in addition to other dance work. As an actress, she made a name for herself with roles in Spike Leeโ€™s Malcolm X and Whoโ€™s da Man before that. The multi-talented vocalist was causing quite a stir, and Gotti did what he could to bring her into his Murder Inc fold. After showcasing her swooning voice on Big Pun โ€™s โ€œHow We Rollโ€ and the Fast and Furious soundtrackโ€‰โ€”โ€‰both in 2001โ€‰โ€”โ€‰Gotti put Ashanti to work on her debut album, which he produced. Success came quickly. A duet with Ja Rule , โ€œAlways on Time,โ€ hit number one on Billboardโ€™s Hot 100 chart in early 2002 just as a duet with Fat Joe , โ€œWhatโ€™s Luv?,โ€ was creeping toward the same number one position. These two airplay-heavy singles set the stage perfectly for Ashantiโ€™s self-titled debut release. The albumโ€™s lead single, โ€œFoolish,โ€ raced up the Hot 100 chart, entering the Top Ten in March alongside โ€œAlways on Timeโ€ and โ€œWhatโ€™s Luv?,โ€ giving her three Top Ten songs in the same week, including the number one and two positionsโ€‰โ€”โ€‰a quite spectacular feat. And then Ashantiโ€™s album debuted at number one on the album chart, selling an astounding 500,000-plus copies in its first week. With all this chart-topping, Ashanti set some sales records and her success continued. Gotti readied a remix of โ€œFoolish,โ€ titled โ€œUnfoolish,โ€ that featured the Notorious B.I.G . and again overtook urban radio, where no artist was more omnipresent throughout 2002 than Ashanti. She returned the following year with Chapter II, which likewise topped the Billboard album chart on the heels of its hot lead single, โ€œRock wit U (Awww Baby).โ€ The albumโ€™s success was somewhat eclipsed, however, by all the negative drama surrounding the Murder Inc camp at the time (i.e., an FBI investigation and a G-Unit feud). A Christmas album followed late that year. Concrete Rose appeared in December 2004 and debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200. Though she remained with The Inc for 2008โ€ฒs The Declaration, she sought out a number of songwriters and producers outside the labelโ€™s in-house team, including Akon Babyface , and Mario Winans . Highlighted by โ€œThe Way That I Love Youโ€ and โ€œGood Good,โ€ it debuted at number six. Ashanti and the label subsequently parted ways. During the summer of 2009, Ashanti starred as Dorothy in a New York City stage production of The Wiz. Additional acting gigs and television appearances followed, including a role in the series Army Wives. In March 2014, over two years after its intended lead single (โ€œThe Woman You Loveโ€) was released, Ashanti released Braveheart , her first album for the eOne label. ~ Jason Birchmeier

Check out more from Ashanti on her Artist Page on Pandora. 

Listen to Ashanti Radio:

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2 Replies

Happy birthday Ashanti, thanks for posting Pandora. Great playlist as well. Take care and stay safe.  


Community Manager
Community Manager

This post brings back so many memories.

My favorites were "Rain On Me" โ˜” and "Happy" โ˜€๏ธ


Alyssa | Community Manager
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