|While Ashanti may be part of Irv Gotti's Murder, Inc. and famous for duets with tough guys like Ja Rule and Fat Joe, the silken-voiced singer's Christmases are clearly far from that world, as evidenced by ASHANTI'S CHRISTMAS. On her first holiday disc, Ashanti mixes up traditional tracks befitting her light-and-sweet manner and three new songs that would have fit comfortably onto a Temptations Christmas record. Producer Irv Gotti also proves himself at home in an unlikely setting, laying down a serene, spare, warm-fireplace sound for the able vocalist.
|ASHANTI'S CHRISTMAS charms from the first track, the original "Christmas Time Again," a soft, melodic tune that breaks down into Ashanti's soliloquy about the first time she baked Christmas cookies, delivered without a hint of self-consciousness as if the memory just occurred to her while recording (and maybe it did). The soulful chanteuse then launches into a rendition of "The Christmas Song" in a smooth jazzy style with no unnecessary frills, letting the beauty of the song speak for itself. And so it goes throughout ASHANTI'S CHRISTMAS. The singer clearly loves this time of year and the spirit shines through.