Ashanti is not always there when you call, but she’s always on time. The same cannot be said for her Verzuz competitor.

That’s right: the “Foolish” chanteuse is back, not a moment too soon, in the form of “235 (2:35 I Want You),” her first release as a lead artist since 2019’s “Pretty Little Thing.”

Initially teased live while waiting for Keyshia Cole to sit down during their Verzuz battle, the track officially dropped on Thursday (January 21).

The song was co-penned with Jerome Harmon (J-Roc), the industry vet who co-helmed cuts like Beyonce‘s “Drunk In Love” and, most importantly, the bulk of Ashlee Simpson‘s Bittersweet World, including “Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya).” I don’t totally understand why it’s called “235 (2:35)” though – seems a bit redundant, but then, who am I to question Ashanti’s penmanship?

The song’s a solid, slinky serving of after-hours seduction, perfect for slipping into your playlist dedicated to doing the things you do at 2:35 in the morning…in a non-pandemic world, anyway. (Legends Only fans might be aware of one such playlist that I listen to called Silk Sheets. Basically, it’s perfect for that.)

The oooo-y, gooey song’s only grows increasingly catchier with each passing play, as Ashanti provides her reliable come-hither crooning above the tripping, atmospheric beat. It’s got classic Ashanti vibes with a modern twist, and is also a little bit reminiscent of JoJo circa “In the Dark.”

‘Cause ooooh, my body begging for you / Ain’t no mistake, you the truth / And I can’t wait till we ooooh, we ooooh,” she coos. Frankly, there’s simply no going wrong with an “ooooh” type of song. Isn’t that right, Miss Jackson?

And ooooh, that (all-too-short) accompanying music video: Ashanti goes full va-va-voom to feel the fantasy and fulfill the mood of the bedroom banger, as she sexily flaunts her figure and slow-grinds up against a brick wall for her beau. It’s very much how I thought I looked as a young twink up against the brick wall wearing dress shoes at The Ritz. What I wouldn’t give to do that again – or anything at all, for that matter – these days. I digress.

Yes, the clip is far too short – two mere minutes – and it also appears to be promo for a music app called Tully. But you know what? Good for her. Tully bag: secured.

In any case, I don’t foresee this sexy banger slipping out of heavy rotation any time s-ooooh-n.

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