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Pop - Released January 1, 2002 | I.G. Records, Inc. (Catalog)

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R&B - Released January 1, 2003 | I.G. Records, Inc. - Universal Records

The pictures on Ashanti's album covers mean something -- not just because she's gorgeous, but because they signal in which musical direction she's heading. On her first album, she was a streamlined, diva-esque spin on Alicia Keys; on her second, she was styled like Beyoncé Knowles, the Destiny's Child leader who had released her solo debut a week before Chapter II. Ashanti is malleable like that. She has a sweet, appealing voice that has no defining characteristics -- she doesn't have the dizzying range of Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston, the sexiness of Janet Jackson, the riskiness of Aaliyah, the elegant smarts of Alicia Keys, the sheer ambition of Knowles, or, needless to say, the hell-bent skankiness of Christina Aguilera. She sings well and sounds good on modern R&B tracks, fitting into the fabric of the production more than delivering the song. That lack of personality, incidentally, makes her a good vocal foil for rappers, since she never overshadows them. This explains why Irv Gotti used her as the diva for his Murder Inc empire; he's also savvy enough of a producer (along with his colleague Chink Santana) to keep Chapter II entertaining -- more entertaining than her debut, actually -- all the way through. The key is that the production is seductive, whether it's on the actual ballads or the bright, sunny dance numbers, and that Ashanti's crooning fits right in without ever drawing attention to herself. She's not enough of a singer to really belt out the tunes and depart from the melodies with showy runs that are all about her, so she just sings the material straight, which is quite refreshing. The songs have about as much personality as Ashanti's voice, but that actually is a point in its favor, since it keeps everything on an even keel and makes Gotti and Santana's stylish production the star. They are the secret ingredients that make Chapter II good romantic mood music for the summer. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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R&B - Released January 1, 2004 | I.G. Records, Inc. - Universal Records

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R&B - Released January 1, 2008 | I.G. Records, Inc. - Universal Records

R&B - Released November 25, 2016 | Atlantic Records

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Ambient/New Age - Released January 1, 2003 | I.G. Records, Inc. - Universal Records

What a letdown. After a year filled with controversy, allegations, and investigations, Murder Inc label head Irv Gotti finished it on Ashanti's Christmas with his least slick and least satisfying production work. Ashanti's voice fits sweet holiday music well, and she could deliver an excellent Christmas album given the chance, but it seems Gotti can't be bothered to surround her with anything worthwhile. Multi-instrumentalist Demi "Doc" McGhee provides the accompaniment in total, and the poor guy has to emulate a whole orchestra with what sounds like a lone synthesizer. McGhee's piano is hollow and synthetic, and the arrangements are uninspired. Ashanti contributes four new compositions with "Christmas Time Again" and "Sharing Christmas" being simple and sweet, but her "Hey Santa" is a materialistic embarrassment that begs the big guy for a "baby blue convertible." A drum machine that chugs on and on before someone has the good sense to turn it off takes up the last 30 seconds of the 20-minute album. It's a perfectly lifeless moment that caps off a perfectly humdrum album. According to the rumors, relations between Ashanti and Murder Inc had gone sour. Ashanti's Christmas sounds like the standard contractual obligation getaway. ~ David Jeffries
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R&B - Released November 26, 2013 | eOne Music

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Pop - Released February 1, 2019 | 3 16 Records

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Pop - Released January 1, 2002 | I.G. Records, Inc. (Catalog)

Young, pretty, sexy, stylish, and hip, Ashanti is everything a modern, post-hip-hop soul crooner should be. She looks the part, trucks with hitmakers -- at the time her eponymous debut was released, she was featured on a hit single by Fat Joe -- and even approximates Alicia Keys' visuals on the back cover. She can sing, but she's not showy; she never hyperventilates, she croons. Her first album sounds modern, with fairly fresh beats and lightly insistent hooks, and is just naughty enough to warrant a parental advisory sticker (though if you're just listening to this record, it's nigh on impossible to figure out where the objectionable lines are). So why doesn't Ashanti play as greater than the sum of its parts? Largely because it lacks distinctive material, in either terms of the actual songs or the production -- and when that's combined with a singer who is good, yet not distinctive herself, the entire production sounds as if its treading water or providing nifty aural wallpaper. It's not bad by any means, and it has its moments, but at 17 tracks, including skits, it all becomes a blur. A pleasing blur, one that shows promise, but a blur all the same. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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R&B - Released March 23, 2018 | Written Entertainment

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R&B - Released November 5, 2017 | Written Entertainment

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R&B - Released October 28, 2014 | eOne Music

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R&B - Released October 14, 2014 | eOne Music

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R&B - Released March 26, 2013 | eOne Music

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R&B - Released October 2, 2012 | eOne Music

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R&B - Released February 14, 2012 | eOne Music

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R&B - Released December 13, 2011 | eOne Music