Ashanti Eager To Put Her Label's Legal Woes Behind Her

Singer hopes to put out a new studio album about a year from now.

NEW YORK — Now that the Inc.'s Irv Gotti and his brother Chris have been acquitted of money-laundering charges, Ashanti has a much clearer picture of where her career is headed, and she hopes that a year from now fans will be hearing a new studio LP.

"It was an incredible, incredible feeling to know this big gigantic foot has been lifted off of us," she said recently (see "Gotti Brothers Found Not Guilty Of Money Laundering"). "Nobody can feel it like Irv and Chris, but me and Ja [Rule], it trinkled down to us and we felt it was very unnecessary."

Ashanti just released the remix LP Collectables by Ashanti (click here for photos from the release party), and Ja Rule put out the greatest-hits LP Exodus. Along with recording a few new tracks for those LPs, the tandem have been working on new albums. Ashanti said she already has four songs in the can.

"The records we completed, I can't wait to put them out there," she said. "A lot of things are about to unfold at the top of next year. It's all positive energy, a lot phone calls have been made and answered."

The Inc. put out two special calls for the Collectables album, one to Paul Wall and one to the Ticallion Stallion, Method Man. They appear on the album's first single, "Still on It," one of four new songs on the disc (see "What's Ashanti Doing In A Cheap Hotel With Joey Buttafuoco?").

"It was definitely a pleasure working with Paul and Meth," she said. "Paul came to the studio and put it down. He was talking about making me a grill and everything, with pink diamonds in it. He was fun but very professional. It was all good. It's like a family when you get in the studio and guys just jell."

The Long Island native said the lyrics comes from the perspective of somebody who's currently in or has experienced a doomed relationship, but who can't shake the object of their affection. "You're still on it and you know it's no good for you," she explained.

This holiday season, the singer is a taking a little time off to celebrate Christmas with her family. Last year everyone gathered at her house; this year her family will be at a cousin's crib. Maybe someone will be sticking a few CDs in her stocking — she said some of her favorite music of the past year was Maroon 5 and Dem Franchize Boyz's "I Think They Like Me" remix.