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VERZUZ: Fat Joe Vs Ja Rule

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R&B songstress and unofficial Ja Rule/Fat Joe Verzus MVP Ashanti has regained ownership of her masters and is now planning to re-record her 2002 self-titled debut album—a thing many music lovers had no idea artists did before now. (It’s me. I had no idea.)

“I have an amazing legal team, and I got my first record deal when I was 14 years old, so understanding and seeing how things have changed so much from then to now and conceptually understanding what you’re signing is so imperative, it’s so important nowadays,” Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter said during a recent appearance on The Tamron Hall Show. “The fact that I’ll be able to re-record my first album, and put everything together.”

Ashanti, who has recorded a total of six studio albums, dropped her first album on April 2, 2002. According to The Grio, it debuted at number-one on the Billboard 200 and the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and broke the record for first-week sales for any debuting female artist at the time moving 503,000 units.

“It’s so humbling,” she said of the opportunity to re-record the album that gave us “Foolish,” “Happy,” “Baby” and several other classic R&B jams. “It is such an honor. I’m so grateful. It’s such a blessing, you know, the fact that we are still here, we’re living through a pandemic, and these blessings are still coming in, it just makes me so happy again, so humbled and such a believer. There’s a higher power, you know what I mean and I think that just being as a person and praying and putting your heart into things you get that energy back, you know, and I think that’s so important. So I’m just really really happy.”

Seeing as there’s a long history of Black recording artists basically carrying America’s music industry on their backs but having no ownership over any of their work, Ashanti receiving everything she’s owed is truly a thing to celebrate.

Hopefully, we will see more of this for current and former artists who have given us their lives through a speaker and navigated an industry that often regards them as disposal tools to be used for profit, even when they are one-of-a-kind artists whose contributions can never be replaced or reimagined—only re-recorded, apparently.