Ashanti says she “rode out” with Murder Inc. “until the wheels completely fell off.”
After fending off allegations from the label’s founder that she was “disloyal” throughout the prolonged rift with G-Unit, former Murder Inc. Records singer Ashanti recently spoke with The Grio about the effect the beef had on her own career.
Referencing Ja Rule’s own admission that G-Unit won their public feud, the interviewer asked the “Foolish” singer if the beef affected her negatively. “Absolutely,” she said. “You have the the term ‘guilty by association.’ It’s funny because I’ve had plenty of conversations with plenty of ‘thugs,’” she said miming air-quotes with a laugh, “plenty of dudes. Even with [50 Cent], it was just like, ‘It was never aimed at you, it was never anything personal, it was just your crew.’ I caught the stray bullet, you know what I mean. You learn to not take it personal, but at the same time it is affecting you personally. It’s your livelihood. It’s your career. It’s your bank account. There were several endorsements that were lost because of that whole time.”
Ashanti’s self-titled debut was released in 2002 and jumped to the top of the Billboard 200 charts. The album earned her three Grammy nods and, in addition to “Foolish,” generated singles “Happy” and “Baby.” Last month, Ashanti unveiled the cover art to her upcoming fifth album, tentatively titled Braveheart, and revealed plans to release the project this year.
In her interview with The Grio, Ashanti went on to describe the collapse of Murder Inc., adding that her face and celebrity were often used to represent the label. “People have to understand it wasn’t just 50 and G-Unit and Murder Inc.,” she said. “It was 50 and G-Unit, Murder Inc., the Federal indictment, going to court. And then it was crazy because it was [Irv Gotti] and [Ja Rule] goin’ through issues, but it would be my picture on the cover of the post. I didn’t have anything to do with that. I’m in Canada shooting a film. I mean I sat there, and there’s one thing that no one could ever say, I am a Libra and I’m one of the most loyal people you will ever meet on this planet. So I sat there and rode out until the wheels completely fell off. I learned so much. You learn about yourself. You learn about people around you. You learn about the industry as a whole and as it progresses and how you have to fight even harder. When you get to a certain level, people don’t understand. It’s not about getting there. It’s about maintaining. When you get to a certain level, people expect certain things of you and [don’t] really put into perspective what has happened along the way. People expect, ‘Oh, well that happened. And she did this, and she was here, and she won this, and she won that.’ Hey, you know what, guess what else did? She endured a huge beating.”
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In 2013, Ashanti spoke with VladTV and said she spoke with her former labelmate and collaborator Ja Rule, who had recently been released from prison. “I spoke to him the other day and I’m super, super excited for him,” she said. “He is in great spirits…He has a studio downstairs in the house. That’s where he’s gonna be all the time. He’s super excited about the music…Hopefully, we get it all popping. It’s no denying our chemistry…I mean, he has to focus on his stuff right now. And I gotta focus on mine.”