Interview: JLo On Her New Album, Working With Rappers Again, And Her Favorite Thing To Eat In NYC

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By: Mikey Fresh / March 26, 2014

Jennifer Lopez needs no introduction. You’ve seen her movies, danced to her radio hits, and you’ll never forget her famous green dress. This summer, JLo will return with her tenth studio album, and VIBE couldn’t be more excited. After all, most of us grew up to the sounds of Jenny From The Block, so sit back and read VIBE’s exclusive interview with the pride of the Bronx. –Mikey Fresh

VIBE: I have to admit that the majority of the VIBE staff was in high school when you had all those bangers with Murda Inc. and we got real “Stanish” when your “Hey Papi” video dropped. Honestly, whose idea was it to get French Montana on the record?
J-LO: It was actually Jessy Terrero, who directed the video. We all grew up in the same neighborhood, so he’s from NY, too. When he heard this record he said, ‘That should be your first single and we should do a video like this.’ Like the old classic hip-hop videos. He actually told me to be like the rapper and said ‘You should be surrounded by all these guys and they are all surrounded by girls and babies, too.It made all of us smile to think about it, and of course made us laugh. I told him let’s just go for it and he was thinking of all the classic shots. It’s so funny because I was watching VH1’s 100 sexiest videos and “Hot in Here” came on.

Nelly? [laughs]
Yes! [laughs] There was a shot of the girls walking away with their butts [sticking out]. And that’s what we were trying to do. Poke fun, but at the same time make a beautiful video. But poke fun at how women have been treated in these music videos. And, why can’t we do that? We’re in a moment of women empowerment.

You definitely flipped the script totally. It was kind of a shot at the macho-ness in hip-hop.
Just turning the tables a little bit.

Did you actually have a chance to get in the studio with French? Or was it an email thing?
I was actually in Atlanta doing a movie at the time, and he was in NY. But I wanted him to do a song for me called “Same Girl,” which I did a little viral video for. We had already put the “Hey Papi” record out. But with the video being in the Bronx, he thought it would be perfect. He told me, ‘Oh, you gotta let me do “I Luh Ya Papi.” So, we have a remix coming out with French, Tyga and Big Sean — that’s going to be great.

Well, that’s definitely star-studded. But we remember French when he still doing those hood DVDs. Honestly, what was French’s first reaction when he met you?
You know what? All these guys were such gentleman when they came in to the studio. I come in with a great attitude anyway, and French was a gentleman, and so cool. He’s very respectful and we just had a great time. French was no exception. He’s very funny and very clever, which is probably why he’s such a good writer. He’s very melodic, which I love. I actually love what he did on “Same Girl.” I’m actually using it to open my shows.

Producer wise, I know you already said that you got up with DJ Mustard and Detail. Is there anybody else new that you worked with?
Yeah, I’m working with Max Martin, who has been on my wish list for years because I grew up with his pop records. I’ve always made pop records but never had worked with him, and so for me it was kind of like ‘Oh its MAX Martin!’ because I’ve heard his name over the years so many times. His track record is crazy but we did a beautiful song called “First Love.”

I know there has been some release date rumors but can you confirm the date for your album?
June 17th.

Okay. As far as other collaborations, I know you mentioned another few producers, but are there any other rappers or singers that you have on the album.
There is one other record I want to get somebody else on but I can’t talk about it… because if it doesn’t happen… then [laughs]. But I think you heard that I did a duet with Maxwell.

Wow, is it a ballad?
Yes, it’s ballad. It’s something we’ve wanted to do for 10 years but we hadn’t found the right record. I called personally to tell him and he loved it.

That will probably destroy radio. Anything with Maxwell is automatic with the women [laughs]
That voice. Crazy.

Now the big question around the VIBE office… Is there any chance that you’d do a record with any of the Murder Inc. guys? We’re all dying for a “I’m Real Pt. 2.”
I would for sure! Absolutely. I’ve had such great success with them, and it was a moment in time, like you said. For those that were like in high school at the time, and it defined an era of artists collaborating in that way. Pop artists with rappers. It was a time that it was all happening and it was great to be able to that with them. The moment of the remix.

There’s no doubt about that. I also heard that you did a few records with The-Dream.
We talked about working together for this album, and I did do one song with Tricky a few months back. I just don’t know if any of them made the cut. But, I love working with those guys, they are super talented and The-Dream has a crazy, beautiful mind. It all comes down to music,. Magic happens sometimes, it can’t happen every time.

You can’t force it.
You can put all the right people in the room and nothing happens… and then it’s 3 AM with just you, a blank piece of paper and some writer… and then magic happens. You never know. That’s the beautiful thing about making an album. It really is a journey.

Touche! Okay, JLo one last thing. The weather is getting warmer in New York City so it’s time to be out and about every day. Can you break down your 5 favorite places to eat in the BX?
Wow! There’s are so many no name places in my old neighborhood in Castle Hill, but I can never remember the names. There are lot of restaurants in the BX! [laughs] Is Jimmy’s Bronx Café still open? [laughs].

Of course! [laughs] But I think they call it Uptown Jimmys or something.
I mean for me it would be little places that you probably wouldn’t know in my old neighborhood in Castle Hill.

What are some of your fav Spanish dishes? For me, Mofongo is at the top of the list.
Oh really? You like mofongo?

With the little chicharones on top! I love it!
[Laughs] For me I would say maduro rellena, which is plantain with meat inside. It’s deadly, but delicious.

Anything deep-fried is delicious.
Exactly. Deep Fried with a little meat [laughs].