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For years, fans wondered if Ashanti was the real mastermind behind Jennifer Lopez’s hit songs “I’m Real” and “Ain’t It Funny” (Murder Remix). After almost two decades of speculation, and a little bit of drama in between, the R&B hitmaker has finally been recognized for the part she played in the success of both tracks.
It turns out that Ashanti actually wrote the lyrics to “Ain’t It Funny” for the 2002 remix, a surprising tidbit she shared during her Verzuz battle with Keyshia Cole last year. Before she was signed, the singer, who just received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, also sang the demo for “I’m Real.” It was later used as a reference track for Lopez to sing along with as she was recording the final version.
Now that her songwriting contributions are more widely known, Ashanti is finally reveling in the fruits of her labor.
“You should always care about credit for what you do regardless of what industry you’re in, it’s really important to give credit,” the 41-year-old said during an interview with Metro.
The “Foolish” crooner continued:
“Especially nowadays because things are so smoke and mirrors. It’s not that it’s frustrating… the word has been getting out there over the past couple of years, and I’m grateful, so a lot of people know, and they were surprised, but it’s more of a ‘yeah, grateful that you know. It’s weird because obviously you get frustrated for not getting credit or not being properly labeled but then that turns into something you get admired for.”
The accolade served as a major milestone for the R&B star during the early days of her career, but according to Ashanti’s 2014 interview with Global Grind, the huge moment was “bittersweet.”
“I was really excited because It was J.Lo, but I was so mad at Irv because I was like ‘you know I wanted that record!'” she shared.
Thankfully, things turned out amazing for Ashanti, who recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of her debut self-titled album.
While they may no longer perform together, the star told Metro that she still maintains a close relationship with her Murder Inc co-collaborator and labelmate Ja Rule.
“It’s the weirdest thing, we have always had instant chemistry and we may not see each other for a month or so and then we may not even see each other before the show, but when we get on stage, it feels like we’ve been hanging out the whole day.”
“It’s crazy because it’s always been like that from the very first we met, it’s the chemistry and I think it’s so rare and special, and important to have that. It’s the reason we’re able to, 20 years later, still rock with each other and have that passion on stage because you can see it and feel it. It’s definitely a blessing.”
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