Ashanti Album Listening: Title Is Film-Inspired, R. Kelly Collaborates, Songs Center on Love
Ashanti's fifth album shares the same name as a popular '90s film, but that's all The BoomBox can divulge at the moment. Fans will have to wait until Thursday (March 8) to learn the name of her forthcoming opus, which will debut in the video for her Busta Rhymes-assisted single 'The Woman You Love.'
The 31-year-old chanteuse disclosed that information during an album listening session Wednesday (March 6) at Jungle City Studios in New York City. Dressed in a tan ensemble, her wrists and fingers adorned with glittering jewelry, Ashanti went through 11 tracks, noting the sonic change in her current project compared to 2008's 'Declaration.' "I think there are songs that are very different," she tells The BoomBox. "'Declaration' told a story -- read the tracklisting. This record, I went for drum-heavy and melodies. There are more street records."
Her mother, Tina Douglas, who wore a gold necklace sporting the words "momager," was also present, chiming in on her daughter's accomplishments. "It's been a long process," she said of Ashanti's year-and-a-half-long recording time. "She wears two hats now -- as a CEO and as an artist. It's all about [her new label] Written Entertainment."
Before she served listeners with the partial product, Ashanti prefaced the listening by saying she's "90 percent" sure the songs played will appear on the final effort. As with any album, there's paperwork to finish and tracks to be mixed and mastered.
'Mine,' produced by Mansur, came up first. A sexy mid-tempo number with a chaotic beat, Ashanti gets catty and risque with lines like, "She ain't got that goodie goodie... She don't know what to do with it, but I know how to drop it." Another Mansur-produced song, 'Never Should Have,' finds the singer cooing of a former lover she now regrets. Her lyrics settle over a marching band-driven beat that could easily sit on the pop charts.
'Paradise' details an unhealthy relationship -- "You still got your pieces on the side, so I went out to get mine" -- but one she falls back into -- "all it took was one kiss." 'Foolish' 2012 it is not, but the sentiments are there.
Rico Love co-wrote the guitar-laden track 'Perfect So Far,' a tune celebrating a significant other, and R. Kelly shines on the Lil' Ronnie-produced 'That's What We Do,' which showcases Kellz and Ashanti in a soulful duet about the trials and tribulations of a romance, but one that works for those involved. When debuting that song, she revealed that R. Kelly still had the original track because "he's particular about his vocals." The product she played was actually an iPhone recording.
The closer, 'R.I.P.,' is a departure for Ashanti, who said it was first time she recorded with live instruments. The grown-up ballad rides the concept of finally putting a relationship to rest, with a burial, black dress and roses included.
Perhaps what will be one of the project's most refreshing works is one that was never heard: the Jerry Wonda-produced song 'Woman to Woman.' Ashanti snagged studio time with Keyshia Cole, who was recording the track for her new album of the same name.
Ashanti's new album is set for release this spring.
Check out the full tentative list of songs set to appear on Ashanti's forthcoming album below.
2. 'Get it'
3. 'The Woman You Love' feat. Busta Rhymes
4. 'Perfect So Far'
5. 'Don't Tell Me No'
7. 'Three Words'
8. 'Never Should Have'
9. 'Bona fide Survivor'
10. 'That's What We Do' feat. R. Kelly
12. 'Woman to Woman' feat. Keyshia Cole
Watch Ashanti's 'Foolish' Video