Jennifer Lopez got quite a party going on her upcoming album, Rebirth, when she invited the folks who worked on her first LP, On the 6, to come back and make magic once again. She ran into a snag, though, when she tried to get Fat Joe.
Lopez thought the rapper would be perfect for a song called "Hold You Down," which she said is likely to be the second single from Rebirth (the first, "Get Right," was released to radio this week). She had gotten the song "kind of late in the process" of making her album, but the moment she heard it, she said, she felt like it described the kind of relationship she has with Joe.
"It's more like a friendship record, you know what I mean?" Fat Joe explained. "Growing up in the Bronx and how we became who we are, but we still keep it real with each other. We don't talk every day, but we got mad love for each other whenever we see each other. It's always crazy love."
"So I'm listening to the song," Lopez said, "and there's nobody I can do this song with except Fat Joe. So I give him a call right away. I'm like, 'What's up? Can you come down? I've got something for us ... and it's hot.' And he's like, 'I'll be there tomorrow.' "
The problem was that the recording studio was "way out" on Long Island, New York, hours away from their home turf in the Bronx.
"The next day I'm at the studio, I'm waiting for him and he's not there," she said. "And I'm like, 'Isn't Joe coming by today?' They're like, 'Yeah, yeah, he's five minutes away.' An hour goes by. I'm like, 'Where's Joe?' 'No, no, he's right down the block.' Now I'm starting to get worried. I'm in the vocal booth and I'm like, 'Isn't Joe supposed to be here by now?' " she asked, imitating the exasperated tone she had used at the time. "They're like, 'Joe's lost. He's been lost for two hours.' I'm like, 'Oh God! No!' I was like, 'What happened?' And they're like, 'I don't know, we gave him bad directions.' ... I wanted to kill somebody."
"It's the Secret Service Studio," Fat Joe laughed.
By the time Fat Joe did arrive, Lopez worried that his enthusiasm for the recording process had diminished, especially when he seemed like he just wanted to get it over with. " 'Yo, just play the record, for real,' " she said, imitating his voice.
"Now it starts occurring to me," Lopez said, "that only I heard this song the day before. I haven't really lived with the song yet. What if this song sucks? What if he hates it?"
With these doubts running through her head, she played Fat Joe the track. When it was over, she looked at him to gauge his response, and after thinking for a beat, he smiled. "He's like, 'Yo, that's hot, Ma, I love that.' He loved the song!" she said with relief. "And the rest is history."
"The record was a hit before I even touched it," Joe said. "Like, it's a smash hit. She did me a favor throwing me on there."
That night, Joe started writing his part of the song. The next day, he came back — this time without getting lost — and laid down his vocals. And in the next few weeks, they'll shoot a video, according to Lopez's label rep. "It'll be very real," Lopez said. "It'll be us."
Meanwhile, the "Making the Video" episode about Lopez's "Get Right" premieres Wednesday (January 5) at 10:30 p.m.