Melanie Fiona

Ashanti Dishes on Album Title, Keyshia Cole Duet, & ‘Coach Carter 2’

Ashanti touched down at Philly radio station Power 99 for a candid conversation in front of a live audience. The “Woman You Love” singer spoke about turning down seven offers from major labels to launch her own label Written Entertainment, her long talk with Ja Rule before he went to prison, and reuniting with Irv Gotti for the first time since his indictment.

“It was a lot emotion, a lot of questions,” said Ashanti. “There’s no animosity between us. Time was needed to heal. … Everything is all positive. We had our black cloud and now we’re all good.”

She also explained how the Oscar-winning film Braveheart inspired her album title. “The metaphor that I took was basically in the movie you have the Europeans, you have the soliders from London and the U.K.,” she said. “They have the big horses, they have the shields, the guns, the weapons… They’re all armored up. And then you have the Scots. They’re all raggedy, homemade weapons, and paint on their faces. It’s not an even playing ground, so I feel like with the [major labels], they’re bossed up. They have the big engine and all the artists signed to them and with the indies, it’s depending. It’s homemade, it’s homegrown. It’s a lesser engine. So the metaphor I was using was being brave and putting your blood and guts into it and fighting passionately to win.”

In addition to Busta Rhymes on the lead single, she has worked with R. Kelly, Rico Love (“Perfect So Far”), and Keyshia Cole. She’s unsure if the latter collaboration will end up on her album or just Keyshia’s upcoming project. “The record is dope. I love it,” she said.

She is also in talks to reprise her role in the sequel to Coach Carter and is executive producing and starring in a movie called I Love Cinema. “The character that I play is very different for me,” she shared. “It’s a little bit more risqué, more sexy than I’ve ever been. It’s weird because she almost has a split personality. She’s a teacher, but she has one of those sides.”