TGJ Replay: Ashanti’s ‘Chapter II’

Published: Friday 3rd Jul 2020 by Rashad

Designed much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ segments, ‘Replay’ is That Grape Juice‘s retrospective segment – a written quest, if you will, to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday.

Unlike its ‘Rewind’ and ‘Vault’ predecessors, ‘Replay’ looks to dust off and showcase entire albums (and eras) from a library of Pop and Urban Pop music hits.

In celebration of its 17th anniversary (July 1), join us as we reflect on Ashanti‘s ‘Chapter II.’

Thanks to her chart-topping debut single, ‘Foolish,’ and its self-titled parent album, 2002 saw Ashanti Douglas skyrocket from up-and-coming R&B singer to the genre’s leading female act.  The LP’s premiere week commercial performance not only landed her in history books for the best first-week sales of any female debut album (a record that was later broken by Susan Boyle), but set ablaze a seemingly unstoppable string of successes including a number of top 10 hits by her lonesome and as a feature on other high profile artist ventures.

Boasting a golden pen that spun almost every cut she touched into a Gold or Platinum smash, fans were keen to see if that instrument would run out of ink when it was time for the crowned ‘Princess of Hip Hop & R&B’ to deliver a follow-up.

To answer the challenge, Douglas dumped the group of craftsmen who made her first effort a colossal hit and opted to take the reins herself.  Named executive producer of the project titled ‘Chapter II,’ only Irv Gotti and Chink Santana were among the original crew who could boast contributions to the new opus.

‘Chapter II’ birthed three singles: ‘Rock Wit U (Aww Baby),’ ‘Rain on Me,’ and ‘Breakup 2 Makeup.’

‘Rock Wit U (Aww Baby)’

Hot 100 Peak: #2

RIAA certification: N/A

‘Rain on Me’

Hot 100 Peak: #7

RIAA certification: N/A

 

 

‘Breakup 2 Makeup’

Hot 100 Peak: #N/A

RIAA certification: N/A

*****

Released July 1, 2003, ‘Chapter II’ debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 326,000 units – a noted decline from its predecessor.  Forewarning of the sales performance arguably came via the response to the set’s singles which – despite owning two top 10 hits to its credit like the ‘Ashanti’ album – was not accompanied by the same level of buzz.  This was later evidenced by ‘Chapter II’s long-run commercial performance as it only crossed the 1x Platinum threshold (unlike its predecessor which clocked 3x Platinum).  Critically, however, the set did boast three GRAMMY nominations at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards:  Best Contemporary R&B Album, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, and Best R&B Song.

On this side of history, the LP is more often remembered for signaling Ashanti’s abdication of the R&B throne to growing competition in the genre’s female sector – namely Beyoncé.  Yet, that narrative does no justice to the body of work itself.

A clear demonstration of artistic growth from its forerunner, ‘Chapter II’ not only saw the young songstress push herself vocally but also tackle serious subject matter (i.e. domestic violence in ‘Rain on Me’) that showcased depth and range.  Add to this, Douglas also upped the ante on the optical front by delivering a set of glossy music videos, improved stage performances, and revealing costumes that proved she was every bit of the grown woman she was singing about.

All-in-all, ‘Chapter II’ earned a rightful place among the year’s best offerings and still is a regular spin here at TGJ HQ. While we press play on our jam, ‘Breakup 2 Makeup,’ look below and vote:

 

 

Your thoughts?

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  1. Clarks0o0ñ July 3, 2020

    I miss her sound

    • Fancy BISH July 3, 2020

      At least you have A BIT of taste lol…she was superior in every way to Cammy too 🤣

  2. K July 3, 2020

    She deserve more success

    • Clarks0o0ñ July 3, 2020

      Blame beyonce.
      Beyonce is responsible for killing so many female singers careers.

      She monopolized the entire female rnb industry.

      • David July 3, 2020

        Why blame Beyoncé when Murder inc got federally indictedplus Chapter II Was selling more then dangerously in love at first until Sony came and brought 4 million copies of Dangerously in love

  3. Clarks0o0ñ July 3, 2020

    Her and Nelly made a beautiful couple, why didnt they last?

    • marilyn monh-O-E July 3, 2020

      Nelly cheated on her and got her traumatized. Now she rather doing her Scootting on the floor like a doggy

  4. Gee July 3, 2020

    Met Ashanti during this era she was very cool. I remember buying this album as well. It was another great R&B album released during the early 00’s.

  5. Okay? July 3, 2020

    😍😍😍😍

  6. gstar July 3, 2020

    “I found Lovin” should had been a single!! perfect jam for a wedding too!

  7. Bam July 3, 2020

    The early 2000s has so many female contemporary R&b acts and the music they put out had range in both content and sound. These days all the females in R&b damn near sound the same barely anybody is trying to be a showstopper or have fun.

    It’s just sad that ppl/mainstream let these girls fall off in favor of just having Bey and Rih. Those two can’t carry the torches forever Rihanna is in her early 30s but is obviously all toured out from over work in her 20s and is building an empire. Meanwhile Bey is still going but how much longer with three growing kids.

  8. MonkeySeeMonkeyDo July 4, 2020

    I love Ashanti. I think her downfall was her 3rd album. This album was good but the 3rd album was okay..damn near bad! Then she went on a hiatus and fell all the way off.

  9. MonkeySeeMonkeyDo July 4, 2020

    I love Ashanti. I think her downfall was her 3rd album. This album was good but the 3rd album was okay..damn near bad! Then she went on a hiatus and fell all the way off! Off

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