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 Lopez can go home again as long as she doesn't mind crowds, though some question if she really wants to ....



Page 2


 J. Lo strips down, serenades Ben Affleck, puts it all in an album for her kids ...



Page 3


 Luther Vandross gets J. Lo in the mood, but it's a Michael Jackson record that makes her say, 'I want this guy' ...



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 Jennifer Lopez: Photos From The MTV Interview





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Lopez finds the middle ground between Hollywood A-Lister and Big Apple B-Girl on "Jenny From the Block," her club-banging new single that flaunts ties to the'hood by sampling Boogie Down Productions' "South Bronx" and featuring rhymes from Styles and Jadakiss (both from nearby Yonkers). The song is about enjoying her celebrity and all its trappings while always keeping a bit of the former Fly Girl near and dear to her heart. In other words, you can take the girl out of the Bronx, but you can't take the Bronx out of the girl.

The video for "Jenny From the Block" exemplifies the dichotomy. Featuring Ben Affleck, also her co-star in the upcoming films "Gigli" and "Jersey Girl," the clip's imagery of four-star hotels, yachts, luxury cars and diamond bracelets is coupled with Lopez nodding to her past with a street-worthy dose of hip-hop. If the video's nearly nude Lopez makes it difficult to catch the subtext of what on mute could be a typical bling-bling clip, the lyrics make her meaning obvious.

"I stay grounded as the amounts roll in," she sings, before maintaining, "Don't be fooled by the rocks that I got/ I used to have a little, now I have a lot/ But I'm still Jenny from the block."

  "The soul of the record is based in my Bronx upbringing..."
"That's who I am," she said. "I love the hip-hop. I love the R&B. It's gonna manifest itself in my music. ... The soul of the record is based in my Bronx upbringing. I think that really shows here — that time when people were rocking in Lees and Adidas. ... This record has a little bit of that nostalgia in it, so it wasn't so much I was trying to get gritty or grimy or street — even though it has that element, which I think is cool — but it was more just really getting to who I was and letting that out."

"Jenny From the Block" is just one facet of Lopez's composite personality. Much of the rest of the album deals with relationships. Although she's not explicit, "All I Have" [hear her new music], a duet with LL Cool J about keeping your head up after a breakup, conjures up her public split with P. Diddy. Conversely, "Perfect" [hear her new music], which opens with an atmosphere of lush strings and sparse percussion, details the characteristics of her perfect man: "To me, you'll always be my lust, my love, my man, my child, my friend and my king." Although no name is mentioned in that song, the tune "Dear Ben" makes it pretty obvious who now holds her heart.

  Hear her new music:
"All I Have"
This Is Me... Then
(Sony)
It's these personal sketches that make This Is Me ... Then the perfect title for such a snapshot set to music.

"Every album I do, I've noticed that it's really indicative of what you're going through," she said. "Who you are at that time, what kind of music you like, what kind of beats you're into, what kind of state of mind you're in, what you're attracted to ... it's all very telling of where you are in your life at that point. ... Twenty years from now, if I give this [album] to one of my kids, I'll be like, 'This was me then, at that moment.'"

This sonic chapter in her diary began with a little red book that Lopez scribbles down thoughts and ideas in. The artwork and liner notes of This Is Me ... Then, modeled after her "magic book," as she calls it, further the feel of an intimate portrait of Lopez's soul.

"I wanted the pictures to look kind of aged, like it was a scrapbook. ... All the writing [in it] is all kinds of crazy and upside down and sideways just as it is in my book."


NEXT: Luther Vandross gets J. Lo in the mood, but it's a Michael Jackson record that makes her say, 'I want this guy' ...
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Photo: Sony

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 Hear her new music:



 "All I Have"
This Is Me... Then
(Sony)



 "Perfect"
This Is Me... Then
(Sony)



 "Loving You"
This Is Me... Then
(Sony)



 "Jenny From The Block"
This Is Me... Then
(Sony)



 "I'm Real"
J. Lo
(Sony)



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