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The Declaration

Ashanti

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Album Review

On her fourth proper studio album, Ashanti remains with The Inc., but you would not know it unless you checked for the logo. The closest tie is the occasional presence of ex-Irv Gotti associate and longtime Ashanti collaborator Seven Aurelius (who now calls himself Channel 7), followed by a minor assist from Chink Santana. Gotti himself is nowhere to be found. L.T. Hutton (Snoop Dogg, Bone) is behind most of the production work, with a handful of notables — Rodney Jerkins, Jermaine Dupri, Ron Feemster, Babyface, Akon, and...Diane Warren — on separate tracks. Even though this album marks a nearly complete break from The Inc., it's very much in line with what came before it, hardly a major departure. Each Ashanti release has had at least one major single, and in this case it's "The Way That I Love You," more in the mold and spirit of "Rain on Me" — full of similarly effective melodramatic flourishes — if much more vengeful in nature than depressive. Nothing is quite as irresistibly fun as "Baby" or "Rock wit U," or as sexy as "Only U," but "You're Gonna Miss" comes close in the case of the former, while the lifeless Akon/Nelly feature "Body on Me" is no good at all, containing no distinguishing qualities. Bottom line, this is neither a great nor a poor Ashanti album. It's decent, just like the rest of them.

Customer Reviews

Ashanti-The Declaration

Ashanti’s ‘04 release, Concrete Rose suffered promotion after “Only U” success. She is back with her newest disc, The Declaration, after a long absence. The Way That I Love You: Things get started with Ashanti’s lead single, “The Way That I Love You”. An excellent single that was a fitting return, as L.T. Hutton’s piano laced production falls and rises, amongst dramatic drums. Vocally it shines, as Ashanti pours her heart out about a cheating boyfriend and how hurt she is. Very well constructed single here. 4.5/5 You’re Gonna Miss: L.T. Hutton brings a poppy summer joint with digitally altered vocals on the hook, as this bass clap track is upbeat and feel good. Decent track that talks about the release of a relationship, yet has lyrics about wanting to get back with him. 3.5/5 So Over You: Bouncy production that drips with synth, keyboards and pounding drums. Ashanti sings about being over her man and done with a relationship, similar to the previous track just fully released and not having second thoughts on it. 3/5 Struggle: Back with a piano laced melody among drums and snares, Ashanti sings about the struggles of a relationship. Production rides out nicely, as Ashanti glazes the track with some smooth vocals creating a solid midtempo. 3.5/5 Girlfriend: L.T. Hut adds another bass heavy track with falling keys, as Ashanti sings about allowing her man everything if she were her girlfriend. Smooth and sexy, the track is decent. 2.5/5 Things You Make Me Do: Robin Thicke collabo here, as Channel 7 (7 Aurelius) brings some unique instrumentation that flows nicely behind the soft smooth vocals of the two. Ashanti tries to take things to the next level, breathy vocals with sex dripping all over. Thicke comes in with his verse, as Ashanti answers him and the track tries to capture the ultimate high of love. It's a decent collab that is sexy and smooth, but doesn’t quite move you entirely. 3/5 In These Streets: Neff-U’s simple twirling keys go throughout with an upbeat bassline. The vocals from Ashanti are clear and commanding, as things grow at the bridge, with different production. Ashanti sings about being with her man and that there isn’t anybody good enough in the streets. 3.5/5 Good Good: Jermaine Dupri comes in with his hi hats and hard hitting drums, while piano keys glaze on top. Ashanti boasts about having that “good good” and having some swagger about what she’s got and telling boys to believe in what they got. The track is just mediocre, as it is light and bouncy but just seems dull. 2.5/5 Body On Me: A feel good number that aims at having pop crossover success, with the cameos from Akon & Nelly. Akon’s light laid back summer production, along with the sing songy hook about shaking that body, with a flirting Nelly, as Ashanti lays down just as flirty vocals. The track is obviously radio aimed, sounds nice but doesn’t have smash hit potential is just an above average track. 3.5/5 Mother: Babyface’s light and sparse ballad production consists of just a light acoustic guitar and snaps at the verses and builds at the hook into strings and other instrumentation. All eyes are on Ashanti’s vocals as she delivers a lovely ballad dedicated to her mother and thanking her for all of her guidance, strength and support. Its truly one of the better tracks that shows some heartfelt vocals, it works well. 4.5/5 Shine: Ashanti goes the inspirational route, as she sings about the ones who try and break you down from shining. Peter Stengaard’s fitting production gives off that inspirational feel good vibe, allowing Ashanti to deliver some Christina Aguilera like vocals. Solid track that shows her vocal talent and uplifting vibe. 4/5 The Declaration: Channel 7 brings some intense and busy production, while Ashanti brings some attitude and confidence about her being her and declaring that she won’t be gone. The attitude is welcomed, as it is exactly what this album is all about. 4/5 Why: Piano laced beat that works nicely, as Ashanti really sings well here. The track blends well both vocally and production wise and the hook is soothing, a nice bonus to the album. 3.5/5 Ashanti’s Declaration isn’t quite the solidified Ashanti release that shows her personality and place in the R&B category. However it is a decent album that is slightly better than her previous albums, with glimpses of her personality that she still hasn’t developed even on album number four. She goes the love/hate routine with several songs and then into bedroom numbers. Things start off really well with lead single “The Way That I Love You”, it's a strong track that is one of Ashanti’s best and vocally expresses deep pain and hurt, after a cheating boyfriend. After that though, things go from solid to mediocre, as “You’re Gonna Miss” is a decent summery cut that works off L.T.’s production, “So Over You” is only a mediocre track of being over a man, and “Girlfriend” is a dull attempt at sex appeal. The Robin Thicke collabo “Things You Make Me Do” isn’t bad, but is a little too breathy and not enough vocal strength, while “In These Streets” is commanding about nobody else but her man worthy and “Struggle” is a decent track on relationship struggles. Where the album truly shines is its last three tracks, the touching dedication of “Mother”, the uplifting “Shine” and intense dramatic and strong statement of still being here in the title track. “Good Good” and some of the aforementioned tracks, “Girlfriend”, “So Over You”, “Struggle” and the radio aimed “Body On Me” are filler to mediocre type tracks, listenable but ultimately not memorable. “Why” and overall the album is another decent offering of Ashanti that will please fans. Rating: 7 out of 10

Declare it

Her best CD. I can actually listen to this all the way through. I am loving her CD. Its well worth the purchase.

Ashanti's Best Work

After a four year hiatus due to legal troubles and numerous album push-backs Ashanti is finally here with her most anticipated fourth studio album “The Declaration”. Ashanti drafted a good number of A-list producers to help her on this project including Pharell, Jermaine Dupri, and Rodney Jerkins. The albums intro track basically tells what Ashanti’s been up to the past four years. When the track starts off you know instantly Ashanti put some of her best work into this album. “The Way That I Love You” the album’s first single features some of Ashanti’s best vocals to date. Not to mention she arranged everything on this song on her own. The first three songs feature break-up anthems with “You’re Gonna Miss” a bouncy pop Ashanti song and “So over You” the rumored second single that features another great set of vocals, and production. Ashanti’s repeats “I’m so over you, over you, over you, over you, over you now”. The song has a Euro-pop/Hip-Hop feel to it, and if released as a single would be an ultimate hit. “Struggle” the only misstep on the album, is not a bad song, but something about it slows the album down. Ashanti confesses to her lover what they’re going throw is a struggle, and she’d want to do anything to keep them together. The album features break-up anthems, inspirational songs, and the traditional R&B baby making songs. “Girlfriend” has Ashanti giving her “Good, Good” to her lover if she “was his girl”. On “Things You Make Me Do” Ashanti drafts Robin Thicke on the track to help give another “Girlfriend” type feel to it. The song would almost pass of as a soft pornography song, with sensual lyrics, smooth vocals, and catering lyrics. This is defiantly one of the best songs on the album. “In These Streets” starts with Ashanti clearing her throat and gives off a brief laugh as she starts this one. The song features “teenage” lyrics, radio ready production and vocals. As Ashanti states “I guess it’s safe to say/that you’re my everything” Another great song, and highlight on the album. On “Body on Me” Ashanti finally collaborates with her boyfriend Nelly, and does the unthinkable and works with Akon. The song is also rumored to be the second single, as it’s also radio ready. The only problem with the song is it sounds out of place on the album, like it belongs to Akon and not Ashanti. Then there’s a set of inspirational songs with “Mother” which is by far the most touching song Ashanti has ever endured. As Ashanti sings to her mother “I will never let a tear fall from your eye”. The track was produced by Babyface, and is going to be the highlight of Ashanti’s career for years to come. If you’re close to your’ mother this one will defiantly hit home. “Shine” is where Ashanti turns left-field and works with Diana Warren. The song almost sounds like it could be a Christina Aguilar song. Non-the less the song is very inspiration, and should assure Ashanti a spot at the Grammy’s. Lastly “The Declaration” the self titled track, and closing song tops off the best Ashanti album to date. The song could mean plenty of things, a relationship or her resent drifting relationship with Irv Gotti as she states “You manipulated me/did it so creatively”. Ashanti declares that “I’m still hear/and I ain’t goin’ nowhere”. The album ends just as it began, with a bang. At the beginning of the album Ashanti declared herself, but picked up some people along the way. This is most definitely her best work today, and she did everything on her own. Best R&B album or this year so far. Top Five Songs: Things You Make Me Do (F/Robin Thicke) The Declaration Mother So over You In These Streets

Biography

Born: October 13, 1980 in Glen Cove, NY

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

With hitmaker Irv Gotti at the helm, Ashanti blasted into the urban music scene in 2002, topping the charts with multiple singles at once. She quickly became a sensation, gracing the covers of magazines and dominating urban radio. Ashanti built her reputation with duets, where she would complement an already popular rapper — Ja Rule ("Always on Time"), Fat Joe ("What's Luv?"), the Notorious B.I.G. ("Unfoolish") — contrasting the tough-guy male perspective with her own. It didn't take...
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The Declaration, Ashanti
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