Ashanti featuring Busta Rhymes “The Woman You Love”
Years removed from a lengthy period in the aughts in which everything Ashanti‘s bright, girly coo touched was guaranteed to occupy the upper reaches of the R&B and pop charts (no matter the quality), hearing something new from the former Murder Inc. First Lady feels entirely welcome, especially with that new being something as tough as new leakage “The Woman You Love”.
Though there’s still something woefully basic about Ashanti’s choice of lyrics, her confrontational turn here as a girlfriend completely exasperated with trying to make a going-nowhere union work (“What about my pride?/ You never satisfied/ You make me feel like I wasn’t worth being by your side”) matched with a stormy, hard-knock of a hip hop-soul loop carries a forceful edge that excitingly picks up on the heavier, somewhat-experimental vibe Ashanti promisingly brought forth, then disappointingly walked away from, on her severely underrated 2004 single “Only U”.
Rather than be another pleasant layer over another smoother-than-smooth R&B instrumental, Ashanti sounds alert and convincingly fiery here, and bringing along Busta Rhymes for some extra manic energy proves to be a smart move.
A sturdy comeback effort from the once-hailed Princess of Hip Hop-Soul.