Although Ashanti was offered a number of record deals as a young teen, it wasn't till she met Irv Gotti that she signed with The Inc. Records (then called Murder Inc.). Starting her time with the label by collaborating with Ja Rule and Fat Joe, she finally dropped her first single, 'Foolish' in January 2002, and followed that with the release of her self-titled debut album in April. The LP went triple platinum and sold six million copies internationally. It also won her the Grammy for Best Contemporary R&B Album. She released three more albums after that, but none repeated the same success that she had with her first LP.

However, Ashanti isn't a one-trick pony. She made her silver screen debut in 2005's 'Coach Carter.' Roles in 'John Tucker Must Die' and 'Resident Evil: Extinction' followed. She then starred in 'The Wiz' during New York City Center Encores! for two months in 2009.

Over a decade since her first album came out, Ashanti is still out here making music, showing off her acting chops and hosting TV shows. She's releasing 'BraveHeart,' her fifth album, this year, and has joined the cast of 'Army Wives.'