Jennifer Lopez and Ja Rule are a renowned hitmaking duo, from “I’m Real” in 2001 to “Ain’t It Funny” the following year. But there are rumors lurking that vocals from Ashanti — who also scored a Billboard Hot 100 leader (“Foolish”) with Ja Rule — got in the mix for Lopez’s No. 1 hit from 2001.
The singer-rapper got real with Andy Cohen on Sunday night’s Watch What Happens Live show about how “I’m Real” went down. During the aftershow, a guest caller from Louisiana asked Ja Rule, “Is it true that Ashanti sung J.Lo’s vocals in the beginning of her career?”’
“No, that’s not true,” he immediately responded.
But Cohen prompted Ja Rule to “clear this story up.” “So I wrote ‘I’m Real’ for Jennifer Lopez,” the 43-year-old artist stated. “And I sung the original version of it as a reference, but I sound terrible, of course. … Ashanti then sung the reference for Jennifer Lopez.”
He continued, “When they mixed down the record, Irv Gotti] left some of the vocals underneath. … She has some vocals underneath, I believe. And that is the rumor. I don’t even know if it’s really true!”
Ja Rule wasn’t “100 percent sure” if any of Ashanti's vocals remain on the final record, but “that’s how the whole thing came about.”
Ashanti fueled the rumors during an interview for No Judgment Zone with Blogxilla back in 2014. “I demoed the record for her. … And they kept my hook and, you know, they kept some of the backgrounds and ad libs and stuff like that,” she claimed at the time. “And it was funny, it was bittersweet because I was really excited 'cause it was J.Lo. But I was so mad at Irv. I was like, ‘You know I wanted that record!’ … I was so mad, but I was happy at the same time because it was J.Lo.”
Watch Ja Rule’s interview with Andy Cohen and listen to the song for yourself below.