Urban Contemporary, 2002
If sampling heavily riffs and hooks from well-known hip-hop and rap acts and having one thin-voiced woman singing over it is what is considered “talent” nowadays, Ja Rule must be the new superhero of the millennium. Considering how Ashanti somehow manages to get herself in the top 3 of the Billboard Hot 100 with three songs occupying the top 3, I’d rather see it as the triumph of payola over any actual artistic credibility.
I mean, what talent? The songs here owe their hooks and riffs to better songs in the past, shamelessly plundered by that pimp Ja Rule. All that are present here in Ashanti’s debut album are songs that sound the same after a while, same because this young woman displays no vocal range at all. The chorus, the verse, the bridge are all sung in the same pitch, same passionless monotone, it’s all the same.
I can’t remember a single tune after three listens of this album, because Ashanti’s singing is so bland. If she shines playing Ja Rule’s background singer, she has no vocal presence to carry off an album on her own. I’ve probably heard Foolish six thousand times on radio, but I can’t hum the tune for the life of me. Likewise, I could try and spin this CD a few more times, I guess, but after four attempts and me still falling asleep halfway through, I think I’ll just skip it and resell this CD at the used CD store.