Fabolous' 2003 track "So Into You" returned to the headlines last year, after the rapper tried to explain why Ashanti and Tamia appeared on two different versions. Although Fab and Tamia seem to disagree on what really happened, Ashanti has finally shared her side of the story—and it's a pretty simple explanation.
The singer addressed the matter during a recent appearance on Hot 97' Ebro in the Morning. Ashanti acknowledged her lines in the track were originally Tamia's, but agreed to record Tamia's parts at the request of Fab and his team. But why was she ultimately replaced in a subsequent version and the song's official video? Ashanti said she believes it was simply a business move.
"Fab and them wanted me to shoot the video, and I think Irv [Gotti] ... he didn't want me to shoot the video," Ashanti explained (13:12). "I guess he felt like I was being oversaturated. So for them, business-wise, it's like, 'Why would we have the single out with her and then not be able to shoot the video?' And then, I think that's when they got Tamia to shoot the video and then do the song. I really believe that is what happened. 'Cause there's a bunch of different stories, but I feel like that's what I was told."
"I obviously thought she was gonna be there a little bit sooner," Ashanti began (1:23). "I just felt like as women camaraderie, if someone is late, you know, you hold on a little bit ... I didn't even realize so much time was going by ... There was something with her screen I think, or the sound, or something. I didn't even know what was going on ... I was like, OK, I have to go out because there's just people sittin' there. This thing has been already up and down—the cancelations, the postponements, now it's late. So, I said, 'I'mma wait a bit longer, and then I'll go out.' So I did."
She went on to say there was no bad blood between her and Cole, as some audience members suspected. Immediately after the battle began, viewers took to Twitter to accuse Cole of having "bad attitude" and being a little bit shady; however, Ashanti doesn't hold that against her.
"Everyone has their days, you know what I mean?" she said, before mentioning Cole's aforementioned technical difficulties. "... There was probably a lot of stuff going on. It's a lot of pressure. When you think of that many people with eyes on you ... If her stuff wasn't together, of course you're going to be frustrated ... So on top of being nervous and then having to deal with all of that, of course you're going to be a little flustered. So I would just assume that played a part into it."
Ashanti also discussed writing the "I'm Real (Remix)," and "Ain't It Funny (Remix)" for Jennifer Lopez, and how she penned the records specifically for J. Lo. Though some fans believe Ashanti has not been sufficiently credited for her contributions to the hits, Ashanti made it very clear she received financial compensation.
"That was a really nice thing to be a part of," she said (6:10), before giving some advice to up-and-coming artists. "... Please write as much as you can, get as much percent of the record as you can. Because when you have a classic, timeless hit record, it is the gift that continues to give forever."
Elsewhere in the interview, Ashanti shed more light on her COVID-19 diagnosis, which was why her and Cole's Verzuz battle was initially postponed last month. The singer said she received her positive results as she was preparing for her flight to the Verzuz event— and she was completely shocked.
"I got tested the night before we were supposed to leave," she said. "I got tested as a precaution. I know I don't have it, so I'm just doing this as a solid for them, so I can get on the plane. So the plane was ready, bags were packed, my stylist was at my house, we were doing fitting ... So when I got the results, I was like, 'Me? Are you sure this is mine?' I was stunned."
Ashanti said she was experiencing the sniffles and had lost her sense of smell, but believed those symptoms were just allergies from the safari she went on in Africa. But despite her diagnosis, Ashanti was still down to do the Verzuz from her home; however, she said organizers didn't think it was a good idea.
"It wasn't too bad, thank god," she continued. "... My mom actually got it really bad. She was in the hospital for five days ... Oh my gosh, y'all, I was going crazy. I snuck in the hospital; they had to kick me out. It was bad."
You can watch Ashanti's full interview above.