“If You Had My Love” by Jennifer Lopez
Let’s be frank straight from the jump. Men playing with the hearts of women is a big problem, especially from the perspective of the ladies being toyed with. We are aware of this because there are innumerable songs that have and continue to be dropped by female musicians that deal with this very issue. And one of them, in a less direct way, is “If You Had My Love”.
In fact J-Lo is letting her romantic-interest addressee know beforehand that she’s not having it. And what that means in a more-practical sense is that the vocalist is not going to allow him to go there unless he proves to her that he is indeed serious. That is to say that the words coming out of his mouth are pleasing to her. He is professing his love and the ‘possibility’ that they “could… spend eternity” together – becoming official spouses, if you will.
Or looked at from another angle, she’s the kind of lady who would go all-in if she and the addressee got into a relationship. And she wants to make sure she doesn’t regret doing so afterwards via the addressee’s actions proving to be contrary to his words. Or put differently yet again, she desires as much assurance as possible that he will in fact be ‘true’.
And, that’s pretty much. This isn’t a complicated song in any way, shape or form. In fact its composers intentionally made it easy – so to speak – so that J-Lo, who was just venturing into music for the first time really, wouldn’t have a hard time with it.
All in all
So simply put, the featured storyline centers on a lady who is apparently down with the idea of having a romance with the addressee. But prior to that, she would like to know how he would actually behave ‘if he had her love’.
Creation of “If You Had My Love”
This song was produced by Rodney Jerkins, aka Darkchild. He was one of the hottest R&B producers in the game around the turn of the century. And according to his oral history of the undertaking, he was actually enlisted to do so by Tommy Mottola, the head of the label that put this song out, which is Sony Music.
With the track eventually coming out on 4 May 1999, Mottola wanted Darkchild to put together a fitting debut single for Jennifer Lopez, who he rightfully perceived as the next big thing.
So according to Darkchild, he put the instrumental together first. And then he worked alongside Cory Rooney and the late LaShawn Daniels, both accomplished songwriters, in composing the lyrics.
This instrumental was also played for Michael Jackson (1958-2009) prior to officially landing in the hands of J-Lo. And whereas he did not choose it for himself, believing it was something a female vocalist should jump on instead, the King of Pop expressed a strong liking for it nonetheless.
And at least one of the composers involved, Cory Rooney, was glad he didn’t choose it, as he had apparently already deemed that it would be better suited for Jennifer Lopez anyway.
Of course Jennifer Lopez went on to become one of the most-successful female solo musicians of the early 21st century. But every once in a while, news tends to pop up allegedly that she bit someone else’s song or engaged in other unethical acts in relation to some of her biggest hits.
And apparently this all started from day one, with “If You Had My Love”. Indeed there is another story concerning this song’s origin which contradicts that of Rodney Jerkins.
And as that story goes, the foundation of this track was a “nearly identical song”, entitled “If I Gave Love”, which the selfsame Darkchild originally wrote for a completely different singer, Chanté Moore. Well Puff Daddy, another musician who is regularly accused of engaging in shady practices, got a gander of “If I Gave Love” and basically took it from Moore and gave it to Lopez.
And whereas Chanté did not own the tune, she still felt slighted as it was actually slated to be released as her own single. Or as she explained, Darkchild “wrote the same song” for both she and Jennifer Lopez, being under pressure from Puff Daddy. And Moore and her people ‘backed off’ from releasing her version as “J-Lo had such a machine at the time”, i.e. Lopez’s own business contacts being more formidable.
Achievements of “If You Had My Love”
And in fact “If You Had My Love” still, over 20 years after its release, stands as one J-Lo’s hits. Or put differently, the song was very successful. For instance, it reached number 1 in almost 10 countries, including topping the most-important global chart of all, the US Billboard Hot 100. The song also reached number four on the UK Singles Chart. It didn’t end there! It went on to enjoy chart success in over two dozen countries across the globe.
In the end, it was eventually certified platinum in the US, Australia and Belgium.
And verily, a large part of the success of the song is attributable to J-Lo’s team, as Chanté Moore suggested. For instance, music-video director Paul Hunter put together a clip that was nominated for four MTV VMAs in 1999, including Best New Artist in a Video (with said trophy actually going to Eminem’s “My Name Is“).
Below are all the countries where “If You Had My Love” enjoyed number 1 status on the charts:
- New Zealand
- United States (the Hot 100)
But according to critics, the main appeal of the visual may have well been J-Lo’s own dancing. And in that regard Lopez is unique from virtually all other singing-female A listers, as she was actually a serious professional dancer even before getting into music.
Indeed it was her outstanding dancing skills (and being featured on a popular TV show, In Living Color, as a result) that opened the door for her to take up acting. And being active in Hollywood, particularly her participation in the 1997 musical-based biopic “Selena”, paved the way for her to then become a singer signed to the prestigious Sony Music, despite being devoid of any serious prior history in that regard.
To note, Puff Daddy was also involved in the creation of this song’s music video. As a matter of fact at the time, he and Jennifer Lopez were dating. And the clip features an actor by the name of Adam Rodriquez, who didn’t take the endeavor that seriously at the time but later marveled as to how much notoriety he gained as a result.
J-Lo, the Brilliant
The marketing “machine” behind J-Lo also did its thing in building what Billboard described as a “hype storm” prior to the release of the track. And by the time all was said and done, Jennifer Lopez had become an overnight music sensation with just one single under her belt.
This reality was likely made possible by the fact that she was already famous beforehand. Or, let’s look at it like this. When most Hollywood actors decide to actually drop a single, the songs tend to be subpar compared to those by other professional musicians. But here we had someone who had acted alongside the likes Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson (with 1995’s Money Train, regardless of what anybody says, being an entertaining film) in addition to actually starring on the aforementioned Selena.
And then it’s like lo and behold, she actually possesses genuine pop music talent also.
That being said, there were also those who felt at the time that she may be a one hit wonder who was capitalizing on the mainstream success that a fellow Puerto Rican artist, Ricky Martin, experienced in 1999. But as history has gone on to show, J-Lo has come out with quite a few mega hits since then. And concerning the aforementioned Ricky Martin, the Latin-based track he dropped that proved to be such a crossover success was “Livin’ la Vida Loca” (1999).
On which Jennifer Lopez album is this song?
It can be found on her maiden studio album. The said album which is entitled “On the 6” produced 5 singles. “If You Had My Love” was the first of the 5 singles to be released.