Should Have Been Bigger: Jennifer Lopez’s “I Luh Ya Papi”

Jennifer Lopez soared into her A.K.A. era on a high point. She landed her biggest hit since 2002 alongside Pitbull on 2011’s “On The Floor.” The dance-floor filler flew all the way to the number 3 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. The pair reunited on 2012’s “Dance Again” and again on 2013’s “Live It Up” Moving into 2014, the diva readied the release of her eighth LP with another glistening hit, “I Luh Ya Papi.”

With a writing and production credit from Detail (Beyonce’s “Drunk In Love” & “7/11”), it was irresistible. Rumored to be intended for Tinashe, Jen picked it up and put her own touch on it. French Montana contributed a verse for the official release, and Big Sean signed on for a remix tailored for radio. But the “Get Right” hitmaker remained the star. On it, she delivered some of her most seductive lyrics as she flirted with a partner.

“I put it down for a brother like you. Give it to you right in the car, that’s you,” she sexily cooed over the sugary synths. “I didn’t see it, but I see you now. Think I love you, and I need you now. Ain’t had none like you in a while,” she adds before moving into the earworm-worthy chorus. “I luh ya papi, I luh ya papi.” The breezy bop seemed like it would be an instant hit, and the video took it to the next level.

The Jessy Terrero-directed video is a visual extravaganza. Opening in a meeting with a potential director, she and two of her friends are discussing potential plots. After listening to proposals including shooting at a water park, zoo or carnival, their response is less than enthusiastic. “If she was a dude, they would seriously have her up in a mansion with all these half-naked girls. Or maybe even in a yacht,” her friend joked. “Why can’t we for once objectify the men,” they asked. So they did just that.

Opening in her bedroom with the siren surrounded by a crew of naked men, she proceeds to show off her luxurious lifestyle. And the scantily clad men are present for every scene. They look on in Speedos as she simmers by her gorgeous pool and wash her cars while she and her friends deliver choreography in the front yard of her home. True to promises, they are also present on a yacht, where J.Lo travels the seas with a bottle of champagne. Literally cheeky and very glamorous, it is a must-see project.

“I Luh Ya Papi” seemed destined for success. Unfortunately, things did not go according to plan. The sleekly produced anthem found some love on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart. There it peaked at the number 5 spot. However, it failed to pick up steam on the Hot 100 and barely cracked the Top 80. Landing at the number 77 slot, it failed to kickstart the era with a bang.

That didn’t stop the album from landing within the Top 10 on the Billboard 200, but J.Lo didn’t net a hit single until dropping “Booty.” After teaming up with Iggy Azalea and dropping a showy visual, the pair broke into the Top 20 to close out the project on a high point.

Although “I Luh Ya Papi” underperformed, it remains one of the most irresistible anthems of 2014. Four years later it is clear that the single should have topped the Hot 100 for months on end. As J.Lo readies a new album, I hope that she is able to land another equally infectious bop. Revisit the underrated release (and its sensual video) below!

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