Jennifer Lopez is a music video queen. She’ll cement her status as one of the genre’s forerunners when she accepts the Video Vanguard award at Monday night’s MTV Video Music Awards. Since she’s about to take the VMAs’ legacy honor, let’s take a look back at her several dozen visuals and separate the “I’m Real”s from the “Let’s Get Loud”s.
39. “Let’s Get Loud”
It’s not an actual music video, so much as it is a recording of a performance of the song, so this is an easy last place.
A slog of a ballad to get through, this cut from her film Enough doesn’t offer much visually. Just Lopez sitting at piano while clips from Enough play in the background.
37. “Que Hiciste”
Few artists come across as effortlessly vibrant on camera as Lopez does. That being said, far too many of her videos rely on her looking into the camera in some remote location just to pull off the visual. This Spanish-language video is one of the worst offenders.
36. “Same Girl”
Another straight-to-the-camera face fest. This time with shots of the Bronx and violins!
35. “Hold You Down”
Though the video pairs up Lopez with Fat Joe, the two sleepwalk through the video, barely acknowledging each other or the camera.
This is once again just Lopez at a piano, but this is the DEFINITION of face acting. Her look is also ON POINT.
33. “Hold It Don’t Drop It”
Another low-budget wonder only saved by the fact that Lopez’s outfits and smolder really save a barely-there visual.
32. “We Are One (Ola Ola)”
This World Cup visual doesn’t do much beyond shots of people playing soccer and Lopez enjoying some Brazilian dancers. “Waka Waka” outsold.
Watchable Only Because J.Lo Is on Screen
31. “Baby I Love U!”
There’s not much concept here besides Lopez rolling around in bed and yet she looks angelic the entire damn time.
30. “Me Haces Falta”
This video, luckily enough, has a plot! Lopez falls in love, but the man she’s falling for is up to some shady dealings. Maybe this just needed more face face face.
29. “I’m Real”
Let’s just say this: this is not the “I’m Real” video people think of when you bring up Lopez’s videography.
28. “Do It Well”
Bubbly, vivid and colorful, this David LaChapelle-directed cut just doesn’t feel like the sum of its parts. A lot of fun to look at but the dancing seems off-kilter and the whole thing seems like a rehash of her better videos.
27. “Fresh Out the Oven”
This little-known cut has one of Lopez’s most daring wig choices and features her sexiest, slinkiest outfits.
26. “Ain’t It Funny”
This sepia-toned ode to true love would rank higher if it weren’t so utterly corny (and if Lopez didn’t have so many other better videos!) But the dance break here is one to be admired and shows Lopez in rare form. Now, let’s talk about those highlights.
25. “I’m Into You”
Another face-to-camera video saved by a gorgeous location and the signature Lopez smolder.
Lopez loves a video with a story at the beginning. In this video she’s offered a magical cookie that will bring back her love in a hotel lobby. It also features several cars crashing as she glides effortlessly down the street.
23. “Goin’ In”
22. “Dance Again”
Released around the same stage in her career, both “Goin’ In” and “Dance Again” are almost interchangeable — highly vibrant Lopez-centric videos that put the singer on full display. The songs also aren’t that dissimilar.
21. “Ni Tu Ni Yo”
In its display of Lopez being photographed, “Ni Tu Ni Yo” works as a meta commentary on how to make a Jennifer Lopez music video.
20. “Amor Amor Amor”
Not her best, but this video does have some great Lopez ~looks~.
19. “First Love”
Lopez didn’t make a big impact on the charts with “Love,” but the black and white video is a stunner.
18. “El Anillo”
This would probably rank higher if Lopez didn’t have locs in one of the scenes!
Good Music Videos
17. “No Me Ames”
This is the video that started the most important romance in Puerto Rican history. The emotions between the two are so palpable and real. Lopez should’ve won an Oscar for this.
Shot at an unfortunate time in music history when adding a dash of Iggy Azalea was considered a recipe for success, the music video gets an A for delivering exactly what it promises in the title.
Alert: we are now in classic Jennifer Lopez/iconic territory. “Play” is severely underloved among the Lopez discography, but its sky-high video is perhaps the one music video that most encapsulates what music videos were in the early 2000s. It is futuristic, features a bevy of unnecessary beige accessories and has too many hairstyles to count. Shout out to Jennifer Lopez’s curly afro!
14. “If You Had My Love”
This video takes place INSIDE THE INTERNET. Iconic.
13. “Ain’t It Funny (Murder Remix)”
Confession: this is my favorite Jennifer Lopez song of all time. It’s not Lopez’s best video, but it features some of her best midriff-baring looks and her purple eyeshadow deserves a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
12. “I’m Gonna Be Alright”
Lopez loves to remind her audience that she’s just a regular girl from the Bronx. Her attempts don’t always land, but it certainly does in this clip, which not only feels more authentic, but also features some iconic LQQKS.
“Dinero” is a reminder that Lopez is a consummate professional. Over 20 years into a music career and she can still pull off a fun video and look like she’s having the time of her life. It’s not among her pantheon of iconic videos, but it’s up there, helped by fellow Bronxite Cardi B.
Iconic Music Videos
10. “I’m Glad”
Jennifer Lopez stars in a remake of Flashdance in her own damn music video. The hair, the leg warmers, the blow torches. Iconic.
9. “Ain’t Your Mama”
If “I Luh Ya Papi” invented feminism, as I’ll argue in the next bullet, then “Ain’t Your Mama” was feminism’s second wave. A good rule of thumb for Jennifer Lopez videos is: if Lopez is playing several characters, it’s gold. Also, a Lopez video that references Network!? When will your fave?
8. “I Luh Ya Papi”
This music video invented feminism. As I said before, Lopez loves a pre-music scene and this time, it’s a conversation between Lopez and two hired friends. They discuss why men can’t be objectified in music videos like women. Wow Lopez/Two Friends 2020.
7. “All I Have”
From the CGI snowflake at the beginning to her pink coat and pigtails, not a frame of this doesn’t belong in the Music Video hall of fame.
6. “Love Don’t Cost a Thing”
This is peak J.Lo! The dance breaks, the pre-Ariana Grande high ponytail, the opening scene about how she doesn’t want expensive things when we know damn well she does. A bikini-clad Lopez dancing on the beach changed the music video world.
5. “On the Floor”
This is Lopez’s second most important of her “There are many Lopez clones” videos. Decidedly low concept compared to other videos high up on the list, this is Lopez’s most high energy romp and based on pure effort, rockets itself to the top 5.
4. “Jenny from the Block”
Don’t most people know where they were when this video dropped? The video may be most known as the video where she decided to cast Ben Affleck, but it also works as a meta commentary on Lopez’s stardom and features some of her best looks. Seeing Lopez in a sweater top dancing in her underwear made me gay. Her hat and capri combo made me queer.
3. “Get Right”
“Get Right” is an iconic music video in a way that the single itself is not. But, don’t get it twisted, this Lopez-as-Every-Woman cut worked so much, they repeated the formula again and again. The dance break is legendary and the midriff coat should be in the Smithsonian.
2. “I’m Real (Murder Remix)”
You probably have a lot of feelings about Lopez’s use of the n word during this song, as you definitely should. But, that aside, this is Lopez at her best. Her musical chemistry with Ja Rule was undeniable and she released this summer-themed video during the summer of 2001, capturing the zeitgeist in a way few other videos did before or since.
1. “Waiting for Tonight”
“Waiting for Tonight” is not the only thing Jennifer Lopez has contributed to pop culture, but if it were, she’d still be one of our most important pop culture icons. The tone of the song, combined with the magic of the video, made this an inescapable anthem. Like “I’m Real,” “Waiting for Tonight” made use of its release window and doubled as a pre-Y2K anthem. Lopez’s star was ascending and this video was the one that propelled her into her eventual early 2000s dominance. Also, everyone has watched this episode of Making the Video where Lopez was burned by a green laser.