Ashanti talks new album 'BraveHeart' and early rivalry with Beyoncé

Ashanti’s new album BraveHeart will be out March 4th, and the former first lady of Murder Inc Records, is in a completely new space creatively.

During the early 2000s her career was in the hands of label CEO, Irv Gotti and others, but now the 33 year old singer, is in the driver’s seat.

“I learned a lot,” said the “Foolish” singer about executive producing her fifth album. “It was a challenge, but I had some great teachers. From Ja Rule, Lyor Cohen, and Julie Greenwald I saw it all.”

Comparing BraveHeart to the popular Mel Gibson movie of the same name, this is Ashanti’s moment to take the lead in her own career.

The guest features on her fifth album support this notion. Though she remains on good terms with Ja Rule and Gotti, no one from her Murder Inc. will appear on her latest project.

theGRIO VIDEO: Ashanti says she caught ‘stray bullet’ in G-Unit and Murder Inc. beef

Surviving and thriving over a decade in the music industry hasn’t been without its ups and downs for Ashanti.

While Murder Inc was trading diss tracks with rival G-Unit in the 2000s, Ashanti had a budding rivalry with Beyoncé, who at the time was the rising star within Destiny’s Child.

When asked if there ever was a competition with the “Drunk In Love” diva, Ashanti described it as “friendly.”

“Everyone wants to be the best right? Who doesn’t? It’s a competitive business, but I was rooting for her,” Ashanti recalled. “I just think we did two different types of music. It was a friendly competition, from my end.”

You can check out Kyle’s musical coverage on theGrio music page, and follow Kyle on Twitter at@HarveyWins.