Ashanti singing
Photo: Scott Gries/Getty
REWIND: You may know Ashanti for her sweet-and-sexy vocals on a string of R&B hits (remember 2002's "Foolish"?).

FAST-FORWARD: The Declaration (The Inc) is her first studio album in four years, featuring the passionate you-did-me-wrong single "The Way That I Love You."

PLAY IT AGAIN: The 27-year-old fashion plate, who grew up in Glen Cove, Long Island, has some spandex skeletons in her closet—and some nostalgic favorites on her current playlist.

The Best of Blue Magic: Soulful Spell (Rhino): "My dad used to sing around the house—we'd wake up in the morning to the sound of his falsetto. Growing up, I'd think, Ugh, stop! But now I love that sound, and of all the great falsetto groups, Blue Magic is my favorite. 'Sideshow' is such a classic."

Mary J. Blige, My Life (MCA): "This album touched a chord with so many women—it's because of the emotion and passion in songs like 'I'm Going Down.' I always leave it on from top to bottom."

Run-D.M.C., Greatest Hits (Arista): "Their first album was the first time I made a cassette tape of a record. I had a big purple boom box, and everyone on my block would come outside and listen. I still love 'Run's House' and 'My Adidas.'"

Salt-n-Pepa, Hot, Cool & Vicious (Next Plateau/London): "They were the first female rap group of my era. I gravitate to their sound; their music was fun and positive. And the shiny spandex and leather jackets in the 'Push It' video—I wore those!"