On Sunday’s episode of Watch What Happens Live, Ja “That’s Not a Fraud, I Would Call That, Uh, False Advertising” Rule showed off his obfuscation predilection when a viewer called in to get the scoop on a rumor. It’s been going around for almost 20 years, I guess, that vocals credited to Jennifer Lopez on the mega-hit “I’m Real” remix she cut with Ja Rule actually were recorded by Ashanti. This, despite Jennifer Lopez’s distinctive... sounds. Anyway, cut to Ja ostensibly trying to clear things up but, in fact, making them more confusing.
Ja explained that Ashanti sang J. Lo’s part on the demo, “and when they mixed down the record, they left some of the vocals underneath.” When Andy Cohen attempted to confirm that Ashanti does indeed appear on the song, Ja Rule said, “She has some vocals underneath... I believe! That is the rumor. I don’t even know if it’s really true.”
Is it the rumor or did it happen? It seems like Ja Rule should know, Cohen pointed out.
“I didn’t fuckin’ mix it!” Ja said.
And then: “No, that is what happened. That is what I believe to have happened, and that’s how the story came about. Are those vocals still underneath or were they left underneath? I don’t know. But that is the story, and that is how the whole thing came about. But is J. Lo singing on the record? Of course.”
Is this a Zen koan?
Ja finished by saying Ashanti’s vocals may be on the track still. Who knows. Anything is possible. If Andy Cohen asked Ja, “Are you Ellie?” I wouldn’t be surprised if the slippery Ja responded, “I’m not not Ellie.”
For what it’s worth, an infinitely more straightforward Ashanti has been saying for years that she’s singing the hook of the song and that some of her demo ad-libs were left in.