She afterward signed deal with AJM Records and soon was noticed by Irv Gotti, a multi-platinum producer of Murder Inc, who acknowledged her extraordinary singing as well as writing talents.
He was the one who set the stage for Ashanti’s introduction to the musical industry.
Born in an artistic family to dance instructor mom and singer dad, Ashanti’s inclination towards the musical world did not come as a surprise to anyone.
Ashanti went on to actively pursue a music career, but she got off to a slow start.
She first signed to the well-known Jive Records, but decided not to release an album with the recording company because she wanted to write her own music. Before releasing her debut album, Ashanti made her presence known by being featured on several songs by rappers signed to Murder, Inc. Not only did her debut, self-titled album break records after its release in 2002—selling more than 500,000 copies during its first week, setting a Sound Scan record for the greatest-selling debut album from a female artist and earning Ashanti a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records—it was widely critically acclaimed.
By age 17, she moved to Atlanta, Georgia, in an attempt to sign with another well-established record label, Epic. It wasn't until Ashanti met with Irv Gotti of Murder Inc. Although the label was known for its hardcore rappers and aggressive music, the R&B singer offered a more soulful sound to the label without losing its edge—a musical style that was inspired by singer Mary J. Ashanti first debuted her vocals as a featured artist on the late rapper Big Pun's single "How We Roll," which made its way to the top of the Billboard charts in 2001. She collaborated with rapper Ja Rule—the first of many collaborations between the two artists—on the song "Always on Time," and later lent her voice to the chorus of Fat Joe's single "What's Luv." With the success of those singles, it wasn't long before Ashanti was ready to release a single of her own, introducing her solo vocals to the world with the song "Foolish." All three of these songs were hits, simultaneously making their way to the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the Top 10 slot, with two of the three singles holding the No. garnered eight Billboard Awards, a Grammy Award (among five Grammy nominations), two American Music Awards, and the Soul Train Aretha Franklin Award in the "Entertainer of the Year" category.
She as well helped in rising fund for sickle cell research, Southeast Asia tsunami disaster and the Hurricane Katrina victims.
She is actively assisting the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
On the Billboard 200 chart, the album debuted at number one.