J To Tha L-O!
by Jennifer Lopez, pop/R&B (2002)
Sony, ASIN B00005V9T1

Is Ja Rule the P Diddy/Puff Daddy of the 21st century? He's everywhere and he's pimping both Ashanti and Jennifer Lopez like there's no tomorrow. The thing is, those two aren't that talented, and the discarded Ja Rule favor of the moment, Mariah Carey, languishes forgotten in the loony pit.

But the Murder, Inc (Ja Rule's production house) product that is J To Tha L-O! is actually the best of all the pap J Lo has ever produced. Even more sad for her, this album is actually a showcase of the Ja Rule and P Diddy production skills rather than J Lo's talent (or what little of it).

Of course, with so many scandals concerning this album, the behind the scenes story is actually more interesting than the actual product. For example, it's Ashanti's vocals rather than J Lo's that's featured on the track I'm Real, although official sources say that it's J Lo and Ashanti's stronger vocals blended together. Say, wasn't Milli Vanilli ran out of town for this crap? Why is J Lo instead opening restaurants and selling tacky perfumes?

And of course, the song being titled I'm Real must be someone's supreme idea of irony.

And I'm Real is obviously a blatant rip-off of Mariah Carey and Ja Rule's If We on the Glitter soundtrack. No matter how much I think Carey a fruitloop, it seems she is really right when she says that Tommy Mottola is using J Lo to destroy her, Carey's, career.

It's a shame, therefore, that the remixes I'm Real and that overplayed Ain't It Funny are really top-notch tracks, completely different from the original mediocre tracks. That, and other well-produced and sexy remixes of tracks like Love Don't Cost A Thing and Walking On Sunshine, are really fabulous ear candy.

There's a new track, Alive, which is a ballad-like thingie, but listening to J Lo/Ashanti/Phantom Background Singer/Milli Vanilli stretch her/his/their/its inadequate vocal cord(s) is painful on my ear drums.

Still, what can I say? This is not an album to dislike, even if every instinct of mine rebels at me liking it and even replaying it on the player. Ja Rule, enjoy - keep mowing the hay while the sun shines, baby, because I'm sure Puffy is keeping a seat beside him for you when the whole world is tired of you and kicks you back to oblivion central.

Rating: 77

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