Ashanti says she now owns the masters to her music, and she is now planning on re-recording her hit debut album Ashanti, which was originally released in 2003.
Speaking on the Tamron Hall show on Tuesday, Ashanti says the move comes after lengthy legal work by her team, which will allow her to record as an independent artist.
“I have an amazing legal team… The fact that I’ll be able to re-record my first album and put everything together and… put it all together is a great blessing,” she continued. “I am grateful. We are still here, living through the pandemic and these blessings. The fact that is still going on makes me very humble,” she said.
Ashanti was interrupted by Hall, who said, “Wait, that’s the big announcement! I was going to build up to that!… She’s recording the album now as an independent artist!”
Ashanti noted that her love for writing music began when she was a child.
“I used to live in the basement of my house — I wanted to feel like I had my own apartment,” she said. “So I used to be downstairs in my own section, and I would put on the Cartoon Network on mute and I would just write. And it sounds so crazy, but I would be…having cartoons on, playing the beat, and then just writing. It made me feel comfortable. It allowed me to kind of get into my zone.”
Ashanti added that her writing habits did not subside after she was signed to record label Murder, Inc in 2002.
“I would be the only female and there would be guys in there [in studio] rolling dice and doing things that guys do and throwing money on the table and there was a lot of stuff in the air,” she recalled. “And I would be in the corner … just writing in my pad.”
Ashanti recounted the growth of her career from the time she first signed with Jive Records, which hosted talents like Backstreet Boys, ‘N’ Sync, and Britney Spears.
“I first signed to a record label when I was 14 years old,” she said. “Then see how things have changed so far. It is very important to have a conceptual understanding of what to sign,” she said in reference to the contracts that caused her masters to be owned by the label.
Ashanti’s young career success was recently highlighted at the Verzuz battle between Fat Joe and Ja Rule, where she appeared to perform several of their hit collaborations, including “What’s Luv?” and “Always On Time.”
Meanwhile, Ashanti has not given a date for release for her re-recorded debut album and whether there will be any tweaks or changes. The album, which is self-titled after her – ‘Ashanti’, was released on April 2, 2002, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and sweeping the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts with first-week sales of 503,000 units. At that time, Ashanti noted her first victory, becoming the first debut female artist to have the biggest first-week sales.
That album eventually sold more than 6 million copies worldwide, cementing Ashanti’s place in hip hop and R&B and making her a favorite collaborator in the early 2000s.