Ashanti Concrete Rose (The Inc) Poor Ashanti. Introduced to the world in 2002 by Irv Gotti and the label formerly known as Murder Inc, the cherubic darling can't seem to shake off her image as the in-house babe. When she's not singing her heart out on her own formulaic R&B songs, she's the scantily clad seductress for Ja Rule or Fat Joe's music videos who provides the 'ooh aah' parts. She's also proved useful for any poseur promotional shots with Gotti and his Inc clan. Sadly, that's as far as she has been stretched to date. Ashanti has a sweet, soul-lite vocal style and sounds serviceable alongside a confident rapper (cue current hot-shot T.I.) or a sweet crooner (check out Lloyd). On her own, however, she slinks between bop'n'bouncy to just plain boring. And you have to ask exactly what she's done with her personality. On this third outing Ashanti seems to have captured her career crisis in the choice of title: she's a beautiful flower stuck in a bed of cement. Perhaps her mentor Gotti can take some of the blame, he has clearly lost the winning groove since his 2002 heyday. But Ja Rule should also be taken to task for not accepting that his place in Duetdom is over. They and their procession of weak material have created a mediocre album that holds Ashanti back from being little more than the on-hand muse for some mindlessly saccharine doodling. The self-proclaimed princess of R&B has proudly declared this her best work. Unfortunately, this means her best is well below average.