|Studio album by|
|Released||April 2, 2002|
|Singles from Ashanti|
Ashanti is the debut studio album by American singer Ashanti. Released on April 2, 2002 by Murder Inc. Records and Def Jam Recordings, the album was recorded in New York and Los Angeles between 2001 and 2002, during the period of time where Ashanti was writing for other artists. The singer worked with a variety of producers including Irv Gotti, Chink Santana, 7 Aurelius, Jared Thomas, and Reggie Wright and co-wrote all the songs on Ashanti. Its music has the sound of R&B, hip hop, and hip hop soul. The album features guest vocals from Gotti, Ja Rule, and the late The Notorious B.I.G..
Ashanti debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 and the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart with first-week sales of 503,000 units, the biggest first-week sales for a debut female artist up to then. The album was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments of 3,000,000 copies on December 17, 2002. It earned Ashanti three Grammy nominations for Best New Artist, Best Contemporary R&B Album, and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Billboard magazine ranked Ashanti at number 100 on its Top 200 Albums of the Decade.
When Ashanti was at the age of 14, she was discovered by P. Diddy's Bad Boy Records. Initially, she went to Bad Boy Records and sang one of Mary J. Blige's songs in front of P. Diddy and Biggie Smalls. After being impressed by her singing ability, Diddy later signed her to a development deal, but, due to a bad contract, Ashanti did not sign with Diddy. This ultimately led to a record deal with Jive Records in 1994. This relationship soured when Jive tried to make Ashanti into a pop singer. Ashanti subsequently involved herself in schoolwork, cheerleading, and running on her school's track team. She was an honor student in English and belonged to the English club where she began writing poetry. She was also in the Drama club and performed in a few plays. She put college pursuits aside when Epic Records approached her with a contract in 1998. However, the label's management changes quickly made Ashanti a low priority. She continued to perform at local New York clubs and began hanging out at the Murder Inc. recording studio, hoping for another big break.
Ashanti was first noticed by Irv Gotti because of her vocal skills. Ashanti initially asked him to produce a few demo songs for her to record so she could say she had some strong tracks by the big time producer but Gotti had a different idea. He asked her to pen hooks for his rap artists and to perform with them in duets. Ashanti provided the melodic response to their call. Ashanti was first featured as a background vocalist on rapper Big Pun's song "How We Roll". In the same year, Ashanti was featured on fellow labelmate Cadillac Tah's singles "Pov City Anthem" and "Just Like a Thug". She also appeared on the 2001 The Fast and the Furious soundtrack as a featured artist on rapper Vita's 2001 hip hop remake of Madonna's "Justify My Love" and on the solo track "When a Man Does Wrong". She appeared as a background vocalist on "I'm Real (Murder Remix)", a collaboration by labelmate Ja Rule and Jennifer Lopez (she also appeared in the music video for "Aint It Funny (Murder Remix)", the second duet between Lopez and Rule, for which she wrote and also sang background vocals on), and was featured on Fat Joe's "What's Luv?" and Ja Rule's "Always on Time". "What's Luv?" and "Always on Time" were released simultaneously and became two of the biggest hit songs of 2002. Ashanti became the first female artist to occupy the top two positions on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart simultaneously when "Always on Time" and "What's Luv?" were at numbers one and two, respectively.
The album's lead single, titled "Foolish" was released on January 29, 2002. The song became Ashanti's biggest solo successes to date, spending ten consecutive weeks on top of the US Billboard Hot 100, and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks charts. It was eventually first ranked on the US Billboard Hot 100, and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles 2002 year-end charts for eleven straight weeks (Tying with Nelly's single "Dilemma", but not for eleven straights weeks). It was a breakthrough hit internationally entering the top five in the United Kingdom, the top ten in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Germany and Japan, and the top twenty in Switzerland and the Netherlands. "Foolish" was later officially remixed, titled "Unfoolish", with guest appearances from a decease rapper The Notorious B.I.G., was released only just for radio ads.
The album's second single, "Happy" was released on May 21, 2002. The song peaked at number 8 on US Billboard Hot 100, and number 6 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts. The single became Ashanti's second top ten hit as a solo artist. It was a moderate success internationally, reaching the top ten in the Netherlands, the top twenty in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the top forty in Australia, Ireland, Switzerland and France. The album's third single, "Baby" was released on August 17, 2002. The song peaked at number 15 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 7 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts. The single became Ashanti's third top-twenty hit as a solo artist in her career.
"Dreams" was released as the album's promotional single, with a live-performance music video with clips of Ashanti's career at this point.
|Los Angeles Times|||
AllMusic gave the album a positive review and praised the "modern, post-hip-hop soul" sound, stating the album has "fairly fresh beats and lightly insistent hooks, and is just naughty enough". However, the site felt it lacked "distinctive material". Entertainment Weekly commended the album's "coy hooks" and "jagged-edged rappers", continuing to say "her voice is supple and pretty but rarely rises above a whisper, making it a background instrument even when it's Ashanti's turn to shine". The Los Angeles Times had a mixed view of the album, writing "Ashanti's breathy, cooing vocals are well suited to the mellow mood of this collection", however was unimpressed because it was not "substantial".
The Ashanti album earning her a three Grammy nominations for Best New Artist, Best Contemporary R&B Album and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. On the same year, Ashanti also received two additional Grammy nominations for other projects, both in the category of Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Ashanti took home a record 8 billboard awards, winning all the categories she was nominated for. Billboard magazine ranked Ashanti at number 100 on magazine's Top 200 Albums of the Decade. In April 2002, Ashanti sold 503,000 copies in its first week of release in the United States, becoming a record-breaking feat. It was the highest first week sales for a female artist's debut ever. The album stayed atop the Billboard 200 for three consecutive weeks. In the same week, she became the first female performer to simultaneously hold the top two places on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with "Foolish" and "What's Luv" (with Fat Joe).
She broke records again by having three top ten songs (Foolish, What's Luv, and Always on Time (with Ja Rule)) on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in the same week. Otherwise, only The Beatles have achieved this. In 2009, Billboard.com reported that Ashanti has had the most top 10 songs (16 to date) on the R&B/Hip-hop charts by a female for that respective decade. The album's lead single was named the 19th most successful song of the 2000s (decade) on the Billboard Hot 100 Songs of the Decade. As of June 2012, it is the third best selling physical single of the 21st century.
On April 20, 2002, Ashanti debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 and Billboards Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart at number one with first-week sales of 503,000 copies in the United States. On December 17, 2002, the album was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and remained on Billboard 200 chart for 55 weeks. Ashanti has sold 3.6 million copies in the United States alone, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Worldwide, the album's sales stand at over six million copies. In Canada, the album peaked at number 15 on the chart and was certified two times platinum for shipments of 200,000 copies.
|4.||"Leaving (Always on Time Part II)" (featuring Ja Rule)||3:55|
|5.||"Narrative Call (Skit)"||0:36|
|7.||"Scared" (featuring Irv Gotti)||4:43|
|12.||"Fight (Over Skit)"||1:18|
|14.||"Unfoolish" (featuring The Notorious B.I.G.)||3:14|
|15.||"Shi Shi (Skit)"||0:14|
- (*) denotes co-producer.
- "Foolish" and "Unfoolish" contains a sample of DeBarge's 1983 "Stay with Me".
- "Happy" contains a sample of Gap Band's 1983 "Outstanding".
- "Baby" contains a sample of Scarface's 1997 "Mary Jane".
- "Unfoolish" contains the entire first verse of The Notorious B.I.G.'s 1997 "Fuck You Tonight" and an interpolation of the chorus.
- "Rescue" contains a sample from Michael Jackson's 1988 "Smooth Criminal"
|Canada (Music Canada)||2× Platinum||200,000^|
|Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)||Gold||20,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Platinum||300,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||3× Platinum||3,000,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
Awards and nominations
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|2002||BET Awards||Best New Artist||Nominated|
|Lady of Soul||Best R&B/Soul New Artist||Won|
|Aretha Franklin Entertainer of the Year||Won|
|Best R&B/Soul Single – "Foolish"||Won|
|R&B/Soul Album of the Year – Ashanti||Won|
|R&B/Soul Song of the Year – "Foolish"||Nominated|
|R&B/Soul Song of the Year – "Foolish"||Nominated|
|Best R&B/Soul Music Video – "Foolish"||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Breakout Artist||Won|
|Best New Artist||Won|
|Choice R&B/Hip-Hop Single – "Foolish"||Nominated|
|MOBO||Best R&B Act||Won|
|Best Album – Ashanti||Nominated|
|MTV Video Music Awards||Best Female Video – "Foolish"||Nominated|
|Best R&B Video – "Foolish"||Nominated|
|Best New Artist in a video – "Foolish"||Nominated|
|Billboard Music Awards||Female Artist of the Year||Won|
|Top New Pop Artist of the Year||Won|
|Hot 100 Singles Artist of the Year||Won|
|R&B/Hip-Hop Artist of the Year||Won|
|R&B/Hip-Hop Female Artist of the Year||Won|
|New R&B/Hip-Hop Artist of the Year||Won|
|R&B/Hip-Hop Single of the Year – "Foolish"||Won|
|R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Artist of the Year||Won|
|2003||ASCAP Pop Music Awards||Award-Winning Pop Songs – Foolish||Won|
|ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards||Top R&B/Hip-hop Song – "Foolish"||Won|
|Award-Winning R&B/Hip-Hop Songs – "Baby"||Won|
|American Music Awards||Favorite New Artist in Pop/Rock||Won|
|Favorite New Artist in Hip-Hop/R&B||Won|
|Best Duo or Group – Ashanti||Won|
|Fans Choice Award||Nominated|
|Favorite Female Artist in Hip-Hop/R&B||Won|
|Favorite Album – Pop or Rock 'n Roll Music – Ashanti||Nominated|
|Favorite Album – Hip-Hop / Rhythm & Blues Music – Ashanti||Nominated|
|Grammy Awards||Best New Artist||Nominated|
|Best Contemporary R&B Album R&B – Ashanti||Won|
|Best Female R&B Vocal Performance R&B – "Foolish"||Nominated|
|NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding New Artist||Won|
|Outstanding Female Artist||Nominated|
|Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards||Favorite Female Singer||Won|
|United States||April 2, 2002|
|United Kingdom||April 8, 2002|
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- Daniels, Mark. "Nobody's Fool" Archived February 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Amazon.com. Retrieved April 12, 2007.
- OnTV Shows | myLifetime.com Archived July 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-01-14. Retrieved 2008-09-14.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Allmusic review". Retrieved August 2011
- Caramanica, Jon (2002-04-26). "Ashanti Review". Entertainment Weekly: 148. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
- Hilburn, Robert (2002-04-21). "Many Happy Returns to Form – Page 2 – Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
- "Music: Ashanti (CD) by Ashanti (Artist)". Tower.com. 2002-04-02. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
- Ex, Kris (2002-04-10). "Ashanti: Ashanti : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2007-10-13. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
- Ashanti, slantmagazine.com. Retrieved August 2011
- Robert Christgau: Album: Ashanti: Ashanti
- Ashanti - Ashanti | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic
- "Music Review: Ashanti, by Ashanti". Entertainment Weekly. April 26, 2002.
- Hilburn, Robert (April 21, 2002). "Many Happy Returns to Form". Los Angeles Times.
- Hot 100 Decade Songs
- "Ashanti Answers Critics & Doubters". Ebony. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
- "Australiancharts.com – Ashanti – Ashanti". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
- "Austriancharts.at – Ashanti – Ashanti" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
- "Ultratop.be – Ashanti – Ashanti" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
- "Ultratop.be – Ashanti – Ashanti" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
- "Ashanti Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
- "Dutchcharts.nl – Ashanti – Ashanti" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
- "Lescharts.com – Ashanti – Ashanti". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
- "Offiziellecharts.de – Ashanti – Ashanti" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
- "Charts.org.nz – Ashanti – Ashanti". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
- "Swisscharts.com – Ashanti – Ashanti". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
- "Ashanti | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
- "Ashanti Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
- "Ashanti Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
- http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/esearch/chart_display.jsp?cfi=412&cfgn=Year-end+Albums&cfn=The+Billboard+200&ci=3068360&cdi=8700540&cid=12%2F31%2F2002. Retrieved June 27, 2009. Missing or empty
- http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/esearch/chart_display.jsp?cfi=415&cfgn=Year-end+Albums&cfn=Top+R%26amp%3BB%2FHip-Hop+Albums&ci=3068496&cdi=8709640&cid=12%2F31%2F2002. Retrieved June 27, 2009. Missing or empty
- http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/esearch/chart_display.jsp?cfi=412&cfgn=Year-end+Albums&cfn=The+Billboard+200&ci=3068361&cdi=8700888&cid=12%2F31%2F2003. Retrieved June 27, 2009. Missing or empty
- "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2002 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2017-04-22.
- "Canadian album certifications – Ashanti – Ashanti". Music Canada. Retrieved 2017-04-22.
- "Japanese album certifications – Ashanti – Ashanti" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved 2017-04-22.
- "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Ashanti; 'Ashanti')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2017-04-22.
- "British album certifications – Ashanti – Ashanti". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2017-04-22. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Ashanti in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
- "American album certifications – Ashanti – Ashanti". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2017-04-22. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.