Ashanti Asserts Her Independence On Solo Debut

Co-star of Ja Rule's 'Always on Time' drops first album on April 2.

NEW YORK — She's not kidding when she says she won't always be there when you call. Not only is Ashanti heading out on the road as one of the featured acts on Ja Rule's Pain Is Love tour this spring, she's striking a new independent chord in her music.

"Unfoolish," a remix of her hit "Foolish," is sending the message, "Girls, we've got to get our act together," she said last week. "It's like, 'We're not gonna take it anymore. I'm glad to get you out of my system. I'm not gonna be foolish anymore.' It's an uplifting record."

The track, which will be on her self-titled debut, samples the Notorious B.I.G.'s "F--- You Tonight" featuring R. Kelly and includes one of Biggie's verses from the song. "I'm leaving you tonight," she sings on the chorus, playing off Kelly's lyrics of "I'm f---ing you tonight."

Ashanti, who is in the midst of a promo tour for her April 2 release, said "Unfoolish" won't be the only song where she's giving a guy the cold shoulder. "Leaving" finds her squaring off with none other than Ja Rule.

"It's hot," she exclaimed. "Actually, when we shaped and molded it, it was supposed to be like 'Always on Time Part 2.' In 'Leaving,' it's like, 'I'm leaving. I gotta let you know right now I'm leaving.' And [Ja's] the one that's [saying the] 'baby don't go' type of thing. So it worked out really good."

Ashanti admitted she softens up a little down the road on the LP and picks up the phone for her gentleman caller. " 'Call' is hot," she boasted. "I really like 'Call.' It's like when you call on someone, kind of similar to 'Always on Time.' 'When you call I come running baby. ... I'll be right there for you, but only you can call on me like that, though, 'cause I've got love for you.' "

"Happy," which she suggested will be dropping in the next few weeks, is also about dropping your defenses. "It's just a great vibing record. It's a feel-good record, especially for the summer, and that's where we kind of want to gear it toward. I'm talking about how you found that person and you were searching for him and you're just happy."