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Ashanti reflects on upcoming 15 year anniversary of debut album and her magical chemistry with Ja Rule


Andrew Benge/RedfernsWith the near-15 year anniversary of her debut album release, Ashanti tells Billboard that her best memory of making the chart-topping project was replacing none other than Jay Z for her first single, “Foolish.”

“I would say one of the best memories would be when I wrote the bridge for ‘Foolish.’ First of all, I was surrounded by rappers. I was with Irv [Gotti] and those guys and no one believed that I wrote my records,” she says. 

“I don’t know if this story ever made it out, but, initially, Irv had called Jay Z to come and rhyme on the bridge of ‘Foolish.’ He was in the car and on the way to the studio to record it with me.”

“Then Irv called him back like 10 minutes later, like, ‘Yo. Never mind. She needs to do this by herself. I don’t wanna do typical R&B songs featuring a rapper. I want to do something different, That’s what we did,” she adds.  

Of course, most Ashanti fans know of her longstanding collaborative relationship with Ja Rule, with both having recorded and performed a number of iconic tracks such as “Always on Time,” “What’s Luv” and “Mesmerize.”  

When asked what her top three favorite collaborations with the rapper are, she says, “I would go “Always on Time,” “Mesmerize” and “Down 4 U.” 

“Me and Ja always, always possess this chemistry, and it just came out of nowhere. It’s crazy. It’s very organic. It’s natural. It’s just really genuine. Like, me and Ja could not see each other for months or years, but when we get onstage, it looks like we’ve been hanging out all day, every day,” she says.  

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