Jennifer Lopez is one of the most influential celebrities of the early 2000’s. She inspired a lot of women to pursue their dreams and aspirations while men always mention her as their ‘ideal woman’. I don’t blame them: With a beautiful face, body, successful career in both music and the movies plus a lovable personality, she is just someone you love to admire or you are envious about. While her first two albums included a bit of every possible genre (latin, R&B, dance and ballads), our JLO decided to chill with her third official album (the remix album is just a special add on to please the fans to be honest). With This is Me… Then, Jennifer pursued a different sound and honestly, I didn’t appreciate it much back then. She was too in love with Ben Affleck, who was Hollywood’s Golden Boy during that time. The beginnings of their love affair was a controversial one because according to gossip sites, Jennifer divorced her “JLO album husband” Cris Judd to pursue a relationship with Ben. It seems that JLo didn’t regret her decision back then because she was able to write and produce a number of romantic songs dedicated to her lover up to the point naming the song after him (Dear Ben). Yes, JLo did it first before Ariana penned a song for her then-boyfriend-now-also-ex Pete Davidson. Maybe that’s the curse of putting your lover’s name in the title of your song – it ruins your relationship and there’s no turning back once that song is included in your album. I only get to appreciate Jennifer’s third album when I got older. Don’t get me wrong: I love her tracks, but I was looking for the hardcore dance and R&B songs from her previous 2 or 3 records. Anyway, let’s take a look back in the “Bennifer” era of JLo’s interesting career…
Bundling Is Brought Into Question, But ‘Father of Asahd’ Is Everything I Would Expect From Hustler DJ Khaled
My favorite Artist would have to be DJ Khaled. Why you say? I admire his ability to pick up where Diddy left off – being a marketing music mogul who places himself front and center in the action of promotion, being hype man for some of the best acts in the biz. DJ Khaled’s new album Father of Asahd is absolutely a dream come true for a fan like me – perfectly capturing the urban and Caribbean sounds of the time while packaging one of the dopest party playlists out there. How involved DJ Khaled is in the producing is irrelevant. Instead, think of him as a ringleader for a circus, and you will get the picture! He simply has too many hats to wear to care about anybody dissing him, and in fact, he is even going after Billboard for a dispute, where he believes that he should have been number one on the charts recently instead of Tyler, The Creator (who gave us an experimental funk album IGOR). The whole controversy is actually bringing into question the practice of ‘bundling’, where album sales/streams are helped by package deals, and both Artists bundled their product with merchandise and promotional shout outs from other sites. What a complicated web the music business has become, yet I love the hustler mentality – and feel this when I hear Father of Asahd.
With the massive success of her debut album On the 6, Jennifer Lopez became a worldwide phenomenon. In fact, she became the poster girl for big butts even before the Kardashians were known for it. Jennifer Lopez was too in-demand both as a pop star and an actress. She was also in the tabloids most of the time because of her controversial relationships and she is also the reigning sex symbol that time. It was in this time that she embraced the nickname “JLo” that her fans bestowed her and even made it as the name of her sophomore album. With JLO and more merchandise with the JLo brand, this Latina superstar shows fierce drive and determination to sustain her popularity as a singer.
Trust Shakira to come up with something sexual yet coming from somewhere strange and erotic. She Wolf is the eighth studio album of the Colombian singer and it came in the heels of her successful Oral Fixation Vol. 1 and 2 double album. I guess because those albums were heavily Latin-flavored, she decided to veer away from her Latin roots a little bit in this album. It’s still there of course. It would be impossible to take out Latin music from a Shakira album. What I mean is, in this album, through the help of The Neptunes production team, she decides to experiment and add other sounds into her core production and I actually like what I hear. Some of the songs work, some, not quite, but as a whole effort, it shows her willingness to evolve and make her music more palatable to a bigger non-Latin America market. By doing so though, she may alienate her core Latin American audience but also gets herself more exposure and traction in areas in the world that listen to contemporary pop or EDM music. The album is a composite of songs where R&B mixes with Latin music so one can hear different interesting instruments in it. What is in there though is Shakira’s smoldering vocals as she navigates each song in her trademark sensual way. Once again, in the album I have, there are three Spanish songs, two of them, the Spanish versions of the songs in English – and – I have pointed this out before, the Spanish versions are much better – as translations often lose some of the nuance of the song. Nevertheless, Shakira straddles both worlds comfortably and anyway, it’s only those who can speak both Spanish AND English who can notice the missing nuances. Otherwise, dance away to this album and your hips will continue to shake from this Shakira offering.
I was pleasantly surprised when I heard Camila Cabello's album Camila. I did not think that time was spent so fast listening to it and I did not think about the number of good things that the album has. Obviously, as a Latino, I identified and listened with great pleasure to the themes that confirm the singer's Latin roots included in this selection of eleven songs. At times I thought: and now, who is going to remember Shakira? with the double element to reach different audiences in terms of culture and language, plus the fact of starting her career on a platform like the one she represents the United States, not to mention the effect of the novelty, her beauty, and youth, I think the competition is leaning in favor of the Cuban-American; for Shakira, starting in Colombia and following paths that first led her to conquer the European market, they made her lost valuable time to position themselves among the American public. I also remembered that the space that Gloria Estefan has left is missing in the US market. A figure that represents the values, aspirations and cultural richness of the huge Latino community in that country and that makes clear the contribution in all areas and disciplines of it, to its culture. It would be great to know that one day Emilio Estefan, husband and brain of the success of Gloria, would produce an album for Camila Cabello. The singer can be someone who also gives meaning and continuity to the roots of all those young Latinos in North America who run the risk of forgetting them, which would be disastrous. But everything wrapped up in a modern and very colorful package for the locals and strangers and that the party extends to all the ends of the earth, will make it possible. Of course, this attractive singer also represents a commercial success in every way and that is why they exploit all their qualities for both markets, as well as those who get hooked with that spicy and "rico" style of their songs, such as Europe. On other occasions, I criticize the fact that the members of a band are affected by the departure of one of its members, since it loses much of the essence with which it was formed and because I think that, somehow it shows some disloyalty. In the case of the departure of Camila Cabello from the girl band, Fifth Harmony, I think it was not for disloyalty and was more than justified by the details that were involved at that time. But far from surrendering, the artist continued with her aspirations and was practically sponsored in her solo release, nothing more and nothing less than by Shawn Mendes! what definitely must have been a reason to reinforce confidence in her art. From my point of view, the fact that Camila Cabello has left her group should not be equated with what happened with ZAYN when leaving One Direction, which I think was motivated by selfishness and the idea of standing out above the others. In short, they are points of view and that is how I have perceived it. After this album and taking the right decisions from her team, record company and, above all, from her, Camila Cabello has everything to transcend as an artist adored by everyone, both among the Latino community in the United States and In all of Latin America she will have a captive market that can take it to the clouds in a short time.