Ashanti - The Declaration

2008-07-07 17:16
Her fourth studio album, The Declaration has a very standard R&B sound that’s synonymous with the nineties. Intros, voice-overs and echoes age the album and make it sound all too familiar for a new release. It's perplexing why The Princess of Hip Hop is sticking with this "rolling in de hood" sound when everyone else has moved on.

The lyrical content is also as standard as any. First single "The Way that I Love You" is a classic R&B ballad that sees Ashanti riding a strong bass line and piano loop. Scorned women everywhere are going to love it, until it gets killed in karaoke clubs everywhere. "You're Gonna Miss" and "So Over You" continues on much the same theme and see Ashanti dishing attitude to all the trifling men out there. She also shows her vocal range and slows the pace with "Mother" and "Shine" and the album ends on a high note with "The Declaration".
Of course, Ashanti's most memorable and successful singles have always been those she collaborated on with other artists (remember "What's luv" with Fat Joe and "Always on Time" with Ja Rule?) So it's no surprise that The Declaration boasts big R&B names like Robin Thicke, Akon and her boyfriend Nelly. "Things you Make me Do" with Thicke is a sexy single that will probably receive moderate airplay. "Body on Me" with Akon and Nelly is another highlight, but sounds similar to Jennifer Lopez's "I'm Real" duet with Ja Rule. Again, no surprise really as Murder.Inc (Ashanti's label) produced the J-Lo remix.

On the whole, The Declaration is a good effort and will sit well with Ashanti fans, but it won't garner her any new following. With the progression in music and the over-lapping of genres, Ashanti's straight-laced R&B is bland in comparison. At 27 she's already being trumped by younger, fresher urban pop artists like Rihanna.

- Ashlin Simpson

It may take non-fans a while to remember what Ashanti is famous for. You may think she is older than 27. And you may even be surprised to learn that she won a Grammy for her debut album in 2000. But for fans, two words come to mind when hearing the name Ashanti – ghetto fabulous.

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