This dance-pop track was written by Christina Milian, who was preparing to release her self-titled debut album later in the year, along with noted songwriters/producers Cory Rooney, Arnthor Birgisson and Anders Bagge.
According to the Daily Mail Weekend magazine, August 21, 2004, When Jennifer Lopez was in the studio recording "Play," she came across an unknown 18-year-old who asked if she could have her picture taken with the star. The unknown teenager was Milian, who explained: "She didn't have a clue who I was. I think she just thought I was hanging out in the studio or something. I don't think she knew I actually wrote the song."
The song finds Lopez at a club where she pleads with the DJ to play her favorite song so she can dance the night away. Milian, whose professional singing debut was a year earlier on the Ja Rule hit "Between Me and You," provides backing vocals.
Milian was expected to deliver the tune to the studio the morning of her 19th birthday, but a night of partying left her scrambling to get it ready on time. "Literally I wrote it like a Dr. Seuss rhyme in 10 minutes," she told the talk show Talk Stoop. She appreciated J.Lo adding her own spice to the song with the aside, "Now Mr. DJ I've asked you three times already, just play my mother f--kin' song!"
The music video, helmed by future Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence, follows J.Lo onto a futuristic spaceship. She unwinds with some tunes on her headphones before heading to the ship's club with the other passengers.
Lopez performed this on the February 11, 2001 episode of Saturday Night Live, which she also hosted.