Born: October 13, 1980 in Glen Cove, NY
Years Active: 00's
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 the young vocalist long to make a name for herself though: her debut album topped the Billboard album chart just as her debut solo single, "Foolish," was topping the Hot 100 chart. Her presence was inescapable.
Ashanti's overnight jump to superstardom followed that of Ja Rule, a similar urban music sensation helmed by Gotti. The New York producer took notice of Ashanti initially because of her beauty, dancing, and acting. She trained as a dancer at the Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center, learning a number of dance styles. She danced most notably in Disney's Polly, which starred Phylicia Rashad, and also appeared in a number of big-name music videos, in addition to other dance work. As an actress, she made a name for herself with roles in Spike Lee's Malcolm X and Who's da Man before that. The multi-talented vocalist was causing quite a stir, and Gotti...