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BUZZ: Christina Milian shuts down Jennifer Lopez beef speculation over song ‘Play’

Lopez’s 2001 hit “Play” — exclusively tells Page Six that she has no beef over the song being placed on J.Lo’s sophomore album despite originally recording it for her own LP.

“Hands down, she killed it. She’s so good. I love that song,” the singer says while promoting her partnership with Lysol Air Sanitizer.

“And I couldn’t believe at 19 years old I wrote a song for J.Lo.”

Milian explains that she wrote “Play” the same week she crafted her defining debut single, “AM to PM,” during songwriting camps in Sweden with Bloodshy & Avant, Anders Bagge and more music luminaries of the early 2000s. 

Christina Milian
Christina Milian exclusively tells Page Six why she isn’t mad that Jennifer Lopez snagged her song “Play” in 2001.
The single cover for "Play" by Jennifer Lopez
The track, co-penned by Milian and featured on Lopez’s sophomore album, was a defining hit for the latter artist.
Jennifer Lopez

The pop star remembers “Play” coming to her in a matter of minutes — a delightful surprise after a late night of partying.  

“I went to bed late that night, woke up the next morning and had to go to the studio. I had the track and I didn’t write anything [to it]. So I sat down in the bed, I had this track, I was really tired and I played the track and I was like —” she says, cutting herself short to hum the melody of the first verse.  

“And I was like, ‘This just sounds too easy.’ It was just too easy to write at that moment. I wrote the song in, like, 15 minutes and it was a joke to me because I had just started to become a writer.”

Jennifer Lopez
“Hands down, she killed it,” Milian gushes over Lopez’s performance.

Although Milian was proud of “Play,” she favored “AM to PM” and figured that her then-label, Def Soul, wouldn’t want to include “two party songs” on her self-titled record, eventually released internationally in January 2002. 

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Long before “Christina Milian” was finalized, though, Tommy Mottola — former Chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment — heard “Play” and immediately claimed it for his artist Lopez, who was signed to Epic Records at the time. 

Christina Milian
Milian was only 19 when she wrote “Play” in “like, 15 minutes,” she tells Page Six.
Christina Milian
The same week she wrote “Play,” the pop star penned her defining debut single, “AM to PM.”

“The guy comes in and he hears ‘Play,’ loves it and is like, ‘I want this as her single,’” Milian recalls. “And the next thing I know, she’s in New York, she’s recording the song and I came in to help rewrite some of the stuff.”

Even in 2023, speculation of a feud persists online when fans often call out Lopez for leaving Milian’s vocals on the final cut of “Play” — her sultry tone is distinctly heard on the chorus — without giving the latter a feature credit. 

“It’s funny when people talk about this being kind of a thing about me singing on the song with Jennifer. I mean, I have background singers on some of my songs,” Milian acknowledges. 

Christina Milian
Milian’s voice is clearly heard on the final cut of Lopez’s “Play.”
Christina Milian / Instagram
Jennifer Lopez and Christina Milian
Milian, pictured here with Lopez this year, is proud of her behind-the-scenes work on the song.
Getty Images for Revolve

“It’s no different than Michael Jackson having background singers on songs or Britney Spears. This is what music is made of. You want a blend of voices. It makes songs better, to me.”

Milian, she says, is happy to have helped Lopez behind the scenes. 

“I don’t need a feature credit,” she insists. “I’m on the credits for whatever nature, as a writer and for singing backgrounds. There is credit for that. I’m also just so happy that she did it because she’s an icon, she’s amazing.” 

The mother of three — who shares Violet, 13, with ex-husband The-Dream and Isaiah, 3, and Kenna, 2, with her current husband, French musician Matt Pokora — still belts out “Play,” plus her own hits, during karaoke parties with her family. 

Christina Milian
Page Six caught up with Milian before she belted out karaoke at Lysol Air Sanitizer’s Air-Aoke pop-up at Music Midtown in Atlanta.
Michael Simon

Milian put her singing skills to use this Saturday at Lysol’s Air-aoke Booth at Music Midtown in Atlanta, where she educated festival goers about ways to prevent the spread of germs, viruses and bacteria. 

“Because we’re such a crazy, fun family and we do sing in the house, I actually found out that one minute of singing produces 1,000 bacteria and virus-filled droplets in the air, so knowing that, I’ve got to spritz this around in the air and I’m at least able to know we can kill those airborne illnesses,” she says, raving over Lysol Air Sanitizer. 

“It’s an easy way to help keep your family healthy.” 


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