Today marks what would’ve been Urban pop songstress Aaliyah‘s 35th birthday. Introduced as R&B ringleader R. Kelly‘s protege at the young age of 14, the New York native precedented an R&B teen movement, leading the way for fellow female divas-in-training Brandy and Monica to share chart success. By the time she reached sweet 17 the ‘Hot Like Fire’ singer’s rise to prominence was imminent as she turned up the heat in her videos and on the charts. With then-little-known super-producer team Timbaland and Missy Elliott at the helm lacing the accompaniment for her angelic falsetto, Aaliyah found herself in a league of her own with substance, sass, and style.
Just two multi-platinum albums, a host of hit singles, and the respect of her peers, the millennium’s end saw the ‘Journey to the Past’ singer’s journey really just beginning as, at the ripe age of 21, she’d already more accomplished than many musicians achieve their whole careers. And, after an extended break, the pressure was on to see if the singer could match her 90s success.
Enter ‘Aaliyah’ – her self-titled 3rd album. Preceded by the #1 single ‘Try Again’, the singer was about to do just that in a whole new way. ‘At her best’ indeed; sophisticated lyrics, ‘grown woman’ sexy, while staying true to her signature sound, the new millennium was introduced to a new Aaliyah. And, fans’ embrace was immediately evident.
With the album’s lead single ‘We Need A Resolution’ making a splash on the charts and its successor ‘More Than A Woman’ completed and ready for take off, Aaliyah thought to make a splash herself and took off to the Bahamas to shoot the visual for island-groove ‘Rock the Boat’. Joined by BET’s ‘Access Granted’, the usually private starlet let fans into see the makings of what was sure to be her next hit on the charts…
‘Started From the Bottom’ beau Drake started a polarizing war of fans last year when he revealed plans of creating a posthumous album filled with some of the late R&B singer Aaliyah‘s unreleased tracks.
Earning a collective thumbs down from those closest to the fallen star (see: Timbaland, Missy Elliott, Ginuwine, her family), the Torontoian rapper was still set to forge ahead with the project as Aaliyah’s label (run by uncle Barry Hankerson) did offer their approval.
Continued negative public reaction to the album – as recent as last month - had the album’s primary producer Noah “40″ Shebib on the fence so much so that he, according to a recent interview with VIBE magazine, has called for Drake to halt the project…indefinitely.
“I was seven songs deep. [Aaliyah’s] mother saying, “I don’t want this out’ was enough for me. I walked away very quickly.” – Noah Shebib
Hard to believe that today marks the 12th anniversary of the untimely passing of R&B starlet Aaliyah.
Introduced as R&B ringleader R. Kelly‘s protege at the young age of 14, the Detroit native precedented an R&B teen movement, leading the way for fellow female divas-in-training Brandy and Monica to share chart success. By the time she reached sweet 17, the ‘Hot Like Fire’ hitmaker’s rise to prominence was imminent as she turned up the heat in her videos and on the charts. With then-little-known super-producer team Timbaland and Missy Elliott at the helm lacing the accompaniment for her angelic falsetto, Aaliyah found herself in a league of her own with substance, sass, and style.
Fast forward to 2001 (after a 5 year absence from album charts), the songstress was returning with her self-titled third album. To promote the July 2001 due album, Haughton hit the ground running in a progressive promo campaign including a stop on the then-popular MTV documentary series ‘MTV Diary’. Showcasing its release, promotional tour, and, of course, downtime in between, the outing gave a glimpse into an otherwise fairly private star. Gone were the shades, baggy jeans, and laidback demeanor. Replaced with a grown and sexy Aaliyah, fans were being introduced to the beginning of what was hoped to be her true rise to prominence.
Unfortunately, that beginning was struck tragically short upon the singer’s death on August 25th, 2001. But, as this very article attests, her legacy is all but forgotten and continues to inspire those left to follow her Urban Pop trail. There will never be another, for, she was truly ‘one in a million’.
As is often the case with producers as influential as he is, the world will struggle to appreciate just how groundbreaking Timbaland‘s work is until we’re a decade or so removed from it.
Crafting the sounds of debut acts who have now gone on to become just as iconic as he is ten years down the line, it’s his work for Aaliyah that seen him secure the most praise and acclaim- solidifying his status as one of the greatest maestros of all time.
Want to know what he thought of the use of her voice in new songs crafted by Drake and Chris Brown.
After ample teasing (and a touch of controversy), the video for Chris Brown‘s Aaliyah collaboration ‘Don’t Think They Know’ has been unwrapped.
The clip for the cut, which is the latest to be lifted from C. Breezy’s new album ‘X’, features the singer dancing “with” the late R&B diva by way of visual projection. As many know, Aaliyah died in a tragic plane crash in 2001 aged just 22.
Watch Brown honor her legacy in this self-directed video after the jump…
No stranger to controversy, Chris Brown will no doubt find himself at the center of fresh debate surrounding his use of an unreleased Aaliyah song.
As earlier reported, the stage blazer features the late singer on his new single ‘They Don’t Know’, which follows on from Urban hit ‘Fine China’. Both appear on C. Breezy’s forthcoming studio album ‘X’, which he has hailed a more marked return to R&B. And with Aaliyah occupying such a pronounced position within the genre, it’s a sure-fire way to elevate interest.
That said, we imagine the posthumous pairing will rustle a few feathers. After all, there remains uncertainty surrounding her family’s wishes for the vaulted material, as well as the fact arch-rival Drake had -up until now-been the main proprietor of bringing her music to a modern audience.
Needless to say, it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out!
Having provided a taste of ‘Fine China’, stage blazer Chris Brown continues his ‘X’ campaign with a brand new single.
Little is known about the track, however fan-footage from the shoot for its accompanying video yesterday has yield some interested tidbits – the most notable being its seeming feature of an Aaliyah sample.