In the early 2000s, Ashanti emerged as a fresh face and voice for a new R&B sound that would become the decade’s soundtrack.
She was only 22-years-old when she launched her breakthrough hit, “Foolish.” It was difficult not to hear an Ashanti song or feature on the radio back then. She was a chart-topper! She gave us countless year-round anthems that we still sing to this day.
2001 – 2003: Ashanti, Chapter II, and Ashanti’s Christmas
We knew a star was born when we first heard the late Big Pun’s posthumous hit “How We Roll” featuring Ashanti.
When “Always on Time” and “What’s Luv?” were at number one and two, respectively, on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, Ashanti became the first female to hold both positions.
After the success of her collaborations with Ja Rule and Fat Joe, Ashanti released her debut single, “Foolish,” which includes a sample of DeBarge’s 1983 hit “Stay with Me” (also used by The Notorious B.I.G. in his 1995 single “One More Chance,” and by Big L in “MVP”).
This is her biggest hit, having spent ten weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100. She became only the second artist (after The Beatles) to have three chart entries in the top ten of the Hot 100 at the same time.
Ashanti’s self-titled first album was released in April 2002 on Irv Gotti’s Murder Inc. label. In the United States, the album was certified triple platinum, and six million copies were sold worldwide.
Chapter II, Ashanti’s second album, was released in July 2003 and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with 326,000 copies in the United States’ first-week sales. The album went platinum in the United States, selling over 1.5 million copies.
Ashanti released her Christmas album, Ashanti’s Christmas, in November 2003.
2004 – 2007: Concrete Rose, Collectibles by Ashanti and Acting
Ashanti’s fourth studio album, Concrete Rose, was released on December 14, 2004.
The lead single “Only U,” which received positive reviews and charted in the top twenty in several countries, preceded Concrete Rose. In the United States, the album debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200.
Ashanti released Collectables by Ashanti, a remix album of Concrete Rose, in December 2005.
In the same year, Ashanti shifted her concentration to acting as she debuted in the 2005 film Coach Carter, starring Samuel L. Jackson. She portrayed Kyra, a pregnant adolescent who must decide whether to terminate her unborn child.
Shortly after, we see Ashanti starring as Dorothy Gale in the made-for-television film The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz, which drew nearly 8 million people when it premiered.
She starred in the teen comedy John Tucker Must Die, which debuted at number three at the box office in the United States in 2006. In the 2007 action picture Resident Evil: Extinction, Ashanti also appeared as a supporting character.
2008–2010: The Declaration
The Declaration is Ashanti’s fifth studio album, released on June 3, 2008.
The single “The Way That I Love You” is included on the album. During a visit to 106 & Park on June 2, Ashanti revealed that she recorded fifty-two songs for the album, fifteen of which were selected, including the extra tracks “Why” and “Hey Baby (After the Club).”
2011–Present: Hiatus and Braveheart
Following a four-year hiatus, the 41-year-old released her fifth studio album Braveheart!
The album featured singles such as “I Got It” and “Never Should Have” and has garnered positive feedback.
As of 2022, Ashanti is working on a book, a documentary, and a feature film that she will produce and star in.