The 2002 rap hit that was initially made for Jennifer Lopez
(Credit: MTV International)

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The 2002 rap hit that was initially made for Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez was one of the biggest R’n’B stars of the late-1990s. With hits such as ‘If You Had My Love’ and ‘Waiting For Tonight,’ the Bronx singer and actress was a superstar. As such, she was in high demand. However, one 2002 anthem initially presented to her ended up in someone else’s hands and brought another vocalist to the forefront.

Produced by Irv Gotti, Fat Joe’s ‘What’s Luv?’ was nearly given to Lopez, who it had been made for. However, after the emcee heard it he immediately jumped on the song.

In a conversation with Ashanti on Instagram Live, Fat Joe (real name Jose Cartagena) detailed how the song came about, recalling, “Ja [Rule] had called me … they woke me up at like three in the morning, and they said, ‘Joe come down, we made a song for you.'”

He continued, “I go to the studio, it’s like four in the morning, they play [‘What’s Luv?’], and you were on it. They were telling me, ‘Yo, this is for you, and J Lo.” Cartagena wasn’t a fan of Lopez and recorded a demo with Ashanti. He then explained to her how they wanted it to appeal to a Latin audience, elaborating, “I said, ‘She sounded amazing on it,’ and they were like, ‘Yeah, but we want the Latino vibe,’ but I was like, ‘Nah, we leaving it how it is’… that’s how that went down.”

In 2002, Ashanti was just emerging as the first lady of Ja Rule’s crew, Murder Inc. In contrast, Jennifer Lopez was an international household name. However, the track made for the star went to the up-and-coming Long Island vocalist by demand of Fat Joe.

Looking shocked, Ashanti exclaimed, “I never knew that,” to which Joe replied, “No, it’s a fact though. I’m not lying to you.” At the turn of the millennium, various females were fighting for a spot in hip-hop. In 2001, as an outsider trying to break into the industry, Ashanti recorded demo background vocals for J Lo’s ‘I’m Real (Murder Remix)’. Unfortunately, Lopez chose not to credit the singer.

Furthermore, she wanted that song. In a 2014 interview, Ashanti unveiled that when the remix was released, she was upset, explaining, “It was bittersweet … I was excited because it was J. Lo. But, I was so mad at Irv because I was like, ‘You know I wanted that record!’” Luckily, ‘What’s Luv?’ fell into her lap a year later, and she immediately entered the urban scene, which Lopez had been trying to do since 1999.

You can watch Cartagena and Ashanti speak in the video below.