Release Date: 07.01.03
Record label: Def Jam
Genre(s): Rap, Hip-Hop, R&B, etc.
Living Her Life
by: john reed
After delivering a debut that was less than satisfying last year, R&B’s reigning princess Ashanti Douglas has finally scored with her sophomoric solo endeavor Chapter II.
She proves she no longer needs the presence of her former powerhouse cronies, as there is no sign of a Ja Rule of a Fat Joe on the CD and the first single “Rock Wit U (Awww Baby),” has the perfect smooth low key groove that was destined to make it a summertime favorite…and it is rap free. “The Story of 2” is ultra soulful as is “Breakup 2 Makeup” (which has nothing to do with the Stylistics song of similar moniker).
While she is just 22, she revisits the best of early 80’s dance/soul with "I Found Lovin’" which reminds one of the better bands of that point in time (e.g. S.O.S Band, Starpoint).
Not that the CD is without flaws. Samples of hits from her debut ("Foolish," "Baby” and “Happy" and "Baby") are revisited in the CD’s opening intro/melody and the same songs are mentioned later in "Living My Life" and kinda flogging a dead hip-hop horse. And the inclusion of four “skits” are annoying and, other than overly demonstrating Ms. Douglas desperately wants to move into the world of celluloid, they just confuse the natural flow of Chapter II.
The tragic death of Aaliyah nearly two years ago left a huge hole in R&B. And while Ashanti does not possess overwhelming pipes of an Aaliyah, she has more than enough moxie to fill that void. She may look like the least intimidating member of Irv Gotti’s (CEO of Murder Inc.) stable, she is likely to have more longevity than all the other acts combined (Ja Rule included). 07-Jul-2003 9:00 AM