Ashanti sings the iconic hook on Fat Joe’s ‘What’s Luv?’ but it turns out producers liked the idea of Jennifer Lopez to make it an anthem ‘for the Latinos.’
Fat Joe and Ashanti‘s “What’s Luv?” is an early 2000s anthem, but it turns out the tune almost had another female singing the chorus: the one-and-only Jennifer Lopez! In an Instagram Live between Joe, 49, and Ashanti, 39, the rapper revealed that the songs’ writers Irv Gotti and Ja Rule had Jennifer, 50, in mind for the track. “I go to the studio, it’s like four in the morning and they play ‘What’s Luv?’ — and you’re on it!” Fat Joe began, referencing Ashanti, who had apparently already recorded the catchy hook. “And they’re yelling at me, ‘yo, this is for you and J.Lo — we want the Latinos on this.’ That’s a fact!” he confirmed.
“I never knew that!” a shocked Ashanti exclaimed, as Fat Joe — who is of Puerto Rican descent, like Jennifer — explained that he fought to keep the Grammy winner on the song. “They wanted J.Lo to do it. And I said, ‘yo, J.Lo? This girl sounds amazing here.’ And they said, ‘Yeah, we want the Latino.’ And I said, ‘we’re leaving [Ashanti] on here…that’s a fact, I’m not lying to you,” he concluded. Fat Joe and Jennifer had also worked together in the past, as he and the late Big Pun appeared on her 1999 song “Feelin’ So Good.”
Ashanti’s mouth was wide open with surprise as she once again said, “Joe, I never knew that.” The Chapter II singer appeared furious for a moment, as she exclaimed, “Oh my god, [Irv’s] still pulling records and trying to pull records from me.” Irv, who founded the Murder Inc. record label that catapulted Ashanti, Ja Rule, and many others to stardom, has a tense relationship with the R&B songstress due to their storied history: the famed producer admitted on The Wendy Williams Show that he and Ashanti engaged in a relationship years ago when he separated from his wife, but that they no longer talk.
“Stop, stop!” Joe urged, reminding Ashanti that the catchy tune was, indeed, a huge success. “What’s Luv?” went on to hit the number two spot on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, where it stayed put for a whopping twenty weeks straight. “It happened, it went [to the top]… at the same time, you were #1, #2, and #3 right?” he reminded her, referencing Ashanti’s hit collaborations “Always On Time” with Ja Rule and her debut solo track “Foolish.”
Last fall, the two women were also part of a similar conversation pertaining to Jen’s now-iconic “I’m Real” remix as Ashanti sings backup vocals on the recording. “I demoed the record, so I sang the whole entire record and then they took most of my lead vocals out and she re-cut her part and they left my backgrounds on,” Ashanti said back in 2016.
“Ashanti was a background vocalist, that’s it, period, don’t make a big thing about it,” producer Irv Gotti added in his Wendy Williams appearance. “Yes, it was her voice, but you know how many records have background vocals? Why y’all making a big thing out of it? Ashanti wasn’t a star [back then], she was just in the studio with me, and I was Napoleon,” the Murder Inc. founder added. Notably, Ashanti also penned Jen’s follow-up hit “Ain’t it Funny.”