By Yasmine Shemesh
When Jennifer Lopez started recording her sophomore album, J.Lo, in 2000, she was within the midst of an unbelievable profession excessive. With a $1 million wage for 1997’s Selena, she’d develop into the highest-paid Latina actress in Hollywood historical past and had a minimum of three new motion pictures within the works. “Waiting for Tonight,” her dance-infused 1999 single, had develop into an anthem for the brand new millennium and was nominated for a Grammy. And he or she was about to make vogue historical past, because of a sure plunging Versace dress. In hindsight, given how lengthy she’s been a multihyphenate, Lopez’s early ambidextrousness wasn’t one bit stunning. In reality, as she instructed Rolling Stone the next yr, she felt like she hadn’t even began but. “I’m wanting ahead to the ninth album, the thirtieth film. I wish to write extra songs, tour, discover the suitable roles, have my circle of relatives. That’s why I’ve a lot power. I do know what lies forward.”
Lopez introduced the identical resolve into performing, and her title efficiency in Selena served as the right jumping-off level into the pop-music sphere. Beginning with the sultry, groovy single “If You Had My Love,” her debut, On the 6, additionally made Lopez — alongside Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony, and Enrique Iglesias — an essential contributor to 1999’s Latin Explosion, which noticed a considerable improve within the mainstream visibility of Latin music.
With every part she already achieved, Lopez proved she might evolve artistically and do it nicely. However J.Lo represented probably the most important turning level for Lopez but, securing her standing as an icon. Launched on January 16, 2001, the identical week The Marriage ceremony Planner opened in theaters at No. 1 on the field workplace, J.Lo debuted on the Billboard 200 on the very high spot. She was already a star; this — the one double No. 1 debut of its sort to this point — made her intergalactic. With 4 singles, subsequent smash Homicide Inc. remixes that includes Ja Rule, and a refreshed picture that offered Lopez by means of a glamorous-yet-still-relatable lens, J.Lo grew to become an influential catalyst that positioned its star to outline practically each nook of Y2K popular culture.
The shift was imminent when J.Lo’s lead single, “Love Don’t Price a Factor,” dropped in December 2000. Glowing and bass-heavy, with empowered lyrics that dismissed lavish presents because the glue holding Lopez’s love in place, it was extra assured than something she’d launched earlier than. The press speculated the music was a wink at Lopez’s high-profile relationship with Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, who additionally co-wrote and produced 4 tracks on J.Lo. The music video noticed Lopez — draped in gold jewellery, a cream duster, and caramel-gradient sun shades — tearing off her luxuries till she was nearly naked on the seaside. J.Lo, the nickname given to her by followers, had arrived.
As a producer and co-writer, Lopez had artistic management over J.Lo and leaned into R&B and hip-hop. On the 6 did too, however J.Lo was distinctly formed by the influences and yielded some spectacular collaborators. Lopez breathlessly yearns for a lover on the Diddy-produced gradual jam “Come Over.” “Play,” co-written by Christina Milian with the singer on background vocals, combines a cool groove with ’80s dance sensibilities. Hip-hop meets Latin pop over a refined pattern of the Sugar Hill Gang’s “eighth Surprise” on “I’m Going to Be Alright,” whereas Mambo-inspired “Cariño” and “Si Ya Se Acabó,” with flutters of flamenco guitar, totally embrace Latin sounds — one other formative affect on J.Lo.
Hip-hop performed an excellent bigger function on the album by means of Homicide Inc. remixes, notably with “I’m Actual” that includes Ja Rule. The music was a standout in its authentic iteration (with its now-infamous pattern of Yellow Magic Orchestra’s “Firecracker,” which Mariah Carey deliberate to make use of for “Loverboy”), however the remix — a wholly new observe, written by Ja Rule with backup vocals from Ashanti and a melody sampled from “Mary Jane” by Rick James — was a spectacular hit, changing into a signature for Lopez and carving out a spot within the cross-genre prism of that includes rap on a pop music.
The mannequin gained large traction by means of the last decade with, for instance, Carey’s “Fantasy” remix that includes Ol’ Soiled Bastard and Aaliyah’s “Are You That Any person?” that includes Timbaland. However as “I’m Actual” dominated the airwaves and obtained essential acclaim, Lopez’s duet with Ja Rule helped cement the lasting energy of the pop/hip-hop composite. Over the following decade, everybody from Beyoncé (“Loopy in Love” that includes Jay-Z) and Usher (“Yeah!” that includes Lil Jon and Ludacris) to Justin Timberlake (“Like I Love You” that includes Clipse) tapped in. The success of “I’m Actual” led to different J.Lo remixes, together with “I’m Gonna Be Alright” with Nas and “Ain’t It Humorous” with Ja Rule and Cadillac Tah. “It is gonna put her in one other zone,” Ja Rule told MTV on the time. “After this one, they gonna expect scorching crossover R&B joints from J. Lo.”
Lopez stored them coming after J.Lo: “All I Have” that includes LL Cool J; “Jenny from the Block” that includes Jadakiss and Types P; “Get Proper” that includes Fabolous. With 2018’s “Dinero,” pairing her with DJ Khaled and Cardi B, and 2019’s “Drugs” that includes French Montana, Lopez continues to bridge pop and hip-hop at the moment. She’s additionally nonetheless blazing genre-crossing trails, dipping pop into entice and reggaetón: “Te Guste,” a 2018 duet with Dangerous Bunny, was described as a “trap-pop gamechanger,” and her two-track collaboration with rising Colombian star Maluma, “Pa’Ti” and “Lonely,” seems on the soundtrack for the forthcoming romantic comedy, Marry Me.
Whereas J.Lo was contributing to the trajectory of early 2000s music, Lopez herself was making her mark in vogue and wonder. After carrying the palm-print chiffon Versace costume to the 2000 Grammys — and inadvertently spurring the invention of Google picture search — Lopez’s type rapidly permeated into the period’s aesthetic. Athleisure, nude tones, fur-lined puffer jackets, hoop earrings, French-tip nails, and high-heeled Timberland boots proudly channeled her Nuyorican roots and fused them with Hollywood glamour. Lopez rocked the seems in her music movies, which now function stylish time capsules, from the pink terrycloth shorts set in “I’m Actual (Remix)” to the lengthy fur coat and taupe bucket hat in “Play.”
Months after J.Lo was launched, Lopez launched her clothes line: J.Lo by Jennifer Lopez mirrored her personal type and included sweatsuits, bedazzled tops, and denim. “The voluptuous girl is nearly ignored,” Lopez said throughout a press convention. “I wish to supply garments which can be splendidly designed and can match ladies of all sizes.” It’s laborious to overstate how the visibility of Lopez’s physique impressed a cultural shift. The ’90s, particularly, had been the period of “heroin stylish,” an unattainable customary of magnificence that excluded anybody who wasn’t 5’10” and a measurement zero. With a lot consideration fastened to her pure curves, Lopez — repeatedly asked to lose weight early in her profession (she refused) — undeniably contributed to the media’s extra inclusive view of all physique sorts. Her clothes line was a bodily realization of that.
Lopez, after all, is now on the helm of a multimillion-dollar empire spanning movie, tv, music, vogue, and wonder. She is likely one of the most versatile, influential, and recognizable artists on this planet, not solely growing Latin illustration within the leisure business by means of the strides she took within the early 2000s however serving to to redefine your complete media panorama alongside the way in which. She’s an icon — an essential one. And J.Lo, with the reverberating affect it made, was an important stepping stone in that path: Due to that album, these three letters are endlessly embedded within the vernacular of latest popular culture.