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Ashanti - Chapter II (2003) Retail CD
The pictures on Ashanti's album covers mean something — not just because she's gorgeous, but because they signal in which musical direction she's heading. On her first album, she was a streamlined, diva-esque spin on Alicia Keys; on her second, she was styled like Beyoncé Knowles, the Destiny's Child leader who had released her solo debut a week before Chapter II. Ashanti is malleable like that. She has a sweet, appealing voice that has no defining characteristics — she doesn't have the dizzying range of Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston, the sexiness of Janet Jackson, the riskinessmore… of Aaliyah, the elegant smarts of Alicia Keys, the sheer ambition of Knowles, or, needless to say, the hell-bent skankiness of Christina Aguilera. She sings well and sounds good on modern R&B tracks, fitting into the fabric of the production more than delivering the song. That lack of personality, incidentally, makes her a good vocal foil for rappers, since she never overshadows them. This explains why Irv Gotti used her as the diva for his Murder Inc empire; he's also savvy enough of a producer (along with his colleague Chink Santana) to keep Chapter II entertaining — more entertaining than her debut, actually — all the way through. The key is that the production is seductive, whether it's on the actual ballads or the bright, sunny dance numbers, and that Ashanti's crooning fits right in without ever drawing attention to herself. She's not enough of a singer to really belt out the tunes and depart from the melodies with showy runs that are all about her, so she just sings the material straight, which is quite refreshing. The songs have about as much personality as Ashanti's voice, but that actually is a point in its favor, since it keeps everything on an even keel and makes Gotti and Santana's stylish production the star. They are the secret ingredients that make Chapter II good romantic mood music for the summer.
|2||Shany's World feat. Chink Santana|
|3||Rock Wit U (Awww Baby)|
|4||What Are They Gonna Say Now (Skit)|
|5||Breakup 2 Makeup|
|6||I Found Lovin'|
|7||Rain On Me|
|8||Then Ya Gone feat. Chink Santana|
|9||Living My Life|
|10||Black Child (Skit)|
|11||Feel So Good|
|13||The Sugar Shack (Skit)|
|14||The Story Of 2|
|16||Shany Shia (Skit)|
|18||U Say, I Say feat. Gunnz|
|19||I Don't Mind|
|20||Outro feat. Chink Santana|
|21||I Know (UK Bonus Track)|
- Ashanti - Chapter II (2003) Retail CD
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- 15/04/07 by Yesideez
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