Once upon a time, Jennifer Lopez reminded the world that despite all of her success in the realms of music and film, she was still Jenny from the block. She certainly shored up that claim during a recent interview with Tidal’s Elliott Wilson, where she was put on the spot and asked the infamous question every hip-hop head gets asked from time to time: Who’s in your top five? After some careful consideration, she revealed a list that was big on hometown love, including four rappers from New York and two from her native borough of the Bronx. The last addition might be a surprise considering the rest of the list, but half the fun of asking is being surprised by unexpected picks.
In J Lo’s case, after placing Queens rapper Nas at the tippy top of her list, she was allowed to include the rest in any order, while being prodded by an audience with suggestions like Drake and J. Cole. However, it’s clear she ultimately went with her gut, despite what fans may have hoped to hear. Following up the Nas pick, she included both Big Punisher and Fat Joe from the Bronx, which are picks that might not surprise anyone who knows about the patriotic denizens of that particular borough. She included the relatively conventional addition of The Notorious BIG, who has been a perennial pick for as long as this game has been played.
Her final selection, though, wasn’t a New York artist at all. Instead, she went with Lil Wayne, the rapper from New Orleans who upset the balance of rap and riled the New York-centric establishment during his run at the GOAT title during his Drought/Carter era in the mid-2000s. J Lo and Wayne collaborated in 2011 on the song “I’m Into You,” on which J Lo jokes Wayne called her “Ms. Lopez — like a teacher.”
It looks like she’s kept it thorough for her borough though with the inclusion of Joe and Pun, who do sometimes get overlooked by fans outside of the Bronx, but who both had huge runs in the late-90s and 2000s, with Joe picking up the torch after Pun’s death in 2000, producing hits all the way up to 2017 with “All The Way Up.” J Lo has the chance to work with another burgeoning hometown hero as well; in March, she announced she was starring alongside Cardi B in the stripper heist movie Hustlers.