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Ashanti struggled to find success as a singer after being courted by several record labels, including Bad Boy and Jive.

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Ashanti provided the melodic response to their call.

Ashanti was first featured as a background vocalist on rapper Big Pun's song "How We Roll". " and "Always on Time" were released simultaneously and became two of the biggest hit songs of 2002. in his 1995 single "One More Chance", and by Big L in "MVP"). The album has been certified triple platinum in the United States and sold six million copies worldwide.

In 2003, Ashanti released her second album, Chapter II, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 326,000 copies in the U. The album went platinum, selling over 1.5 million copies in U. Chapter II was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Album, and "Rock wit U (Awww Baby)" and "Rain on Me" were each nominated in the categories of Best R&B Song and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.

In November 2003, Ashanti released a Christmas album titled Ashanti's Christmas, which was a modest commercial success.

She also received a Comet Award and two Soul Train Music Awards that same year.

Ashanti became the subject of controversy when it was announced that she would receive the Soul Train Aretha Franklin Award for "Entertainer of the Year", a high school student took offense and started an on-line petition against her, explaining to The Seattle Times that she was too new to deserve the award.

Its video, which showed Ashanti in a bikini frolicking on a beach and riding an elephant, was nominated for two 2003 MTV Video Music Awards.

A remix of the song contains interpolations of Michael Jackson's "Rock with You".

Despite the petition, the Soul Train committee and Don Cornelius stuck by their decision.

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