Ricky Martin Red Hot, Missy Elliott Bald, Jennifer Lopez Confused: This Week In 1999

Latin pop star Ricky Martin's 1999 Grammy performance of "La Copa De La Vida" set the house on fire, so much so that many say that that was the moment Martin — who had been a worldwide sensation for many years — finally became a superstar in the U.S. In the wake of that star-making turn, MTV News' Serena Altschul went on a fact-finding mission to discover what made Martin so darn hot.

Serena Altschul: There was something really magical and special for everyone who was there at the Grammys and for people watching at home. Can you attribute it to anything in particular?

Ricky Martin: First of all, I really wanted to be there. It has a lot to do with the attitude, how you come across.

Altschul: You got a standing ovation.

Martin: Don't we all love that?

Altschul: You literally have been an international superstar for years, but not here in America, and then all of a sudden something's changed. Now they're ready for you.

Martin: I go back to this need to create some kind of cultural exchange and to be aggressive about it as an entertainer.

Ricky Martin's musical career started back in 1984, when, after several rejections for looking too young or too short, the soon-to-be-heartthrob was finally chosen to be part of the boy band Menudo.

Martin: Everything was so fast. I was only 12. I just wanted to be up there and sing and dance. It was a great moment. To anyone who's part of a boy band now, I wish them the best of luck. Enjoy it. Learn from it. Be a sponge. It's not going to last forever.

Long before Martin's stellar Grammy night the seeds for his self-titled English-language release were planted. A hoard of A-list producers and hit-making songwriters signed on to the project and created an eclectic group of songs with a common flavor.

Martin: The link between each song is the Latin taste, the Latin sound, the percussion, the horns and the passion. I must say this is where I'm at today emotionally. I cannot wear a mask to go onstage. These were my influences. This is Ricky Martin.

Ace writer/producer/performer Missy Elliott shot her video for "She's a Bitch" this week back in 1999. Having lensed many of her previous eye-popping video adventures, Hype Williams was once again recruited to helm the clip.

Missy Elliott: I really think this is gonna top "The Rain," 'cause, ya know, I'm bald right now, so it's obvious I'm going a little bit extra.

For one of the scenes, Missy had to submerge herself in a lake so cameras could catch her dramatic ascent above water.

Missy: Y'all don't understand, that water is so cold! But it's all good. This is the sick side of Hype (referring to black, leathery outfit she's wearing). It's some kind of S&M — we some ghetto S&M women.

Hype Williams: The title of the song is "She's a Bitch," so everything is based on that and that kind of feeling. We want her to come off very hard, very strong and tough, a new kind of Missy.

Jennifer Lopez had a problem on her hands back in 1999 — how should she make her grand entrance on the music scene?

MTV News' Chris Connelly: Was it hard to choose "If You Had My Love" as the first single? There are a lot of strong tracks on the record. What made that song cross the finish line first? Sounds like it was a big battle.

Jennifer Lopez: It was. It's just hard. It's like, which direction do you wanna go, how do you wanna be perceived at first? There are so many things that go into it, and you have the record company, your managers, you have everybody who's like, "I think this, I think this," and you have your friends who are like, "No way, you can't do that. You gotta go with the other one." And you're like, "Oh, God ..."

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