From The Vault: Aaliyah – ‘If Your Girl Only Knew’

Published: Sunday 25th Jan 2015 by Joe

36 years old…

That is the landmark R&B Princess Aaliyah would be this month. Unfortunately, fate had decided otherwise.
In a bid to salute one of the major artist who has put modern R&B on the mainstream map, From The Vault journeys back to 1996 this week to spotlight her classic ‘If Your Girl Only Knew’.

Developed by then-up-and-comers Missy Elliott and Timbaland, ‘Girl’ was Aaliyah’s Atlantic Records debut but most importantly the first indicator of longevity after her successful first album. The lead single from the singer’s ‘One In A Million’ LP, it achieved major success in the USA, peaking at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reaching the coveted top spot of the Hip-Hop/R&B Songs and Tracks tally.

Joseph Khan directed the track’s visual which featured the stunner as the Queen Bee of an Urban biker crew. One could argue the styling in the video is pretty faithful to what the “Aaliyah Look” that she would later become renown for. Bandana, crop top and baggy pants and of course sunglasses, Ms Haughton showcases a potent blend of “Street”, “Cool” and “Feminine”. Masterminds Missy and Timbo all appear in the video alongside 90’s staples Lil’ Kim, Ginuwine and R&B trio 702.


Aaliyah, through her well crafted R&B and edgy videos helped redefine the genre as we know it and her influence can still be witnessed in Pop-Culture over 13 years after her tragic passing. Her death is all the more saddening when taking account that 2001 truly felt like the “moment” in time where she hit her mark as an artist as evoked with songs and videos like ‘More Than A Woman’ and ‘Rock The Boat’.
Considering the impact she had during her 10-year run as well as the extent of her legacy, it’s clear to say that the music industry would be looking a lot different if Baby Girl was still amongst us today.

Thankfully, we’ll always have her art to remind us of her incredible talent.

Aaliyah we salute you.


Your thoughts?

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  1. Johann January 25, 2015

    The one and only, Miss Aaliyah Dana Haughton, how I miss you so. No one has come close to your level, many have tried to no avil. U were and still are, pure perfection.

    • RCi January 26, 2015

      Overrated… Terrible live singer and dancer. There are many entertainers today who are more talented than Aaliyah was, but since she’s dead ppl seem to exaggerate her talent and impact. Rihanna is a better singer than Aaliyah and Ciara is a better dancer than Aaliyah and Beyonce is a better singer and dancer than Aaliyah.

  2. LDN Chick January 25, 2015

    I love it! An R&B classic.

  3. Lobe January 25, 2015

    Undeniably one of her greatest songs and most underrated. Aaliyah was so ahead of her time. It’s a shame people says she isn’t that iconic when her style and music is constantly recycled by today’s artists.

  4. Royalkev January 25, 2015

    This is definitely one of my two favorite Aaliyah singles (the other is ‘Are You That Somebody’). Aaliyah was so s**-Z and icy cold at the same time!

  5. #TeamTinashe Stan (New Single To Be Announced) January 25, 2015

    The visuals, style, vocals and that smooth a** dance break that I’ve always loved. So so original. She literally had an interesting career that left people wanting more everytime. She never tried to overdo it. The smooth slow hip hop dances she use to do gave her more interest by fans to evolve and do different styles of dancing, that’s why the “Aaliyah” era with the “Rock The Boat” and “More Than A Woman” videos really showed how much potential she had. Miss her a lot.

  6. I STAN(D) FOR TALENT January 25, 2015

    This was my jam!!!! Thank you Joe.

  7. Tyler January 25, 2015

    Aww I miss 90’s R&B

  8. Greg January 25, 2015

    How I miss her so much! Aaliyah was definitely a head of her time. Her second and third album were so ahead of its time. When those albums came out in 1996 and 2001 there was no album that sounded like that, it was different and u were always wondering as a fan would she would do next. Like some of today’s artist would say, the music would have been so different if she was still around and I strongly believe that. It wasn’t only the music that made her so iconic, it was how she carried herself with such class, she had this girl next girl thing going on, but still very mysterious. I could go on and on and that why I hate it when people say she’s overrated and people only give her credit, because she’s dead. The people that say that has obviously not lived that erg.

  9. King M.J January 25, 2015

    A classic. Aaliyah was everything, beautiful, s***, and talented, and that pretty girl swag was everything. I definitely miss her sound.

  10. #JACKIE (Cici da baddest) January 25, 2015

    If she was still around there would be no Beyoncé or Rihanna 🙁 🙁 🙁

    • No thank you January 25, 2015

      LOL, girl, Bey and Rih would be here regardless, and still slaying with their impact. But you know who wouldn’t be here, your fav.

    • Maxine January 25, 2015

      Beyonce and Rihanna would both be fine. They both carved their own, healthy lanes. Ciara on the other hand would be non existant.

      • #JACKIE (Cici da baddest) January 25, 2015

        Your a mother f****** lie Ciara is more Janet influenced than Aaliyah b****

    • BeyRihLiyah January 25, 2015

      stop trolling hoeeee you shouldn’t say anything because flop-ara doesn’t even have a career beyonce Aaliyah and rihanna all shittt on your fave!! ci-n***** is nothing more than a cheap knock off of janet and Aaliyah 🙂

      • #JACKIE (Cici da baddest) January 25, 2015

        How is flop/11 and FourFlopSeconds doing

      • Sass January 25, 2015

        BOTH are doing better than ‘I Flop’.

    • BeyRihLiyah January 25, 2015

      but where is I Flop ? it hasn’t made any impact on the I tunes chart or the billboard charts 🙂

      • #JACKIE (Cici da baddest) January 25, 2015

        I Bet has not even officially taken off yet you tried

      • BeyRihLiyah January 25, 2015

        no excuses beys 7/11 peaked at number 13 on the bb 100 with any promo and rih’s fourfive seconds is at #4 on the iTunes main chart without any promo and it barely to off just face it Ciara doesn’t have any fans nor a career

    • Topaz January 25, 2015

      Yoooo you really need to stop setting yourself up to be dragged. Ciara’s career lasted 3 years. Beyoncé has been slaying for 18 years, Rihanna – 10 and Aaliyah 7 until her untimely demise. Your flop fave could never ever compare. Give up up you sour apple bitter b****.

    • Rihanna #1 fan t January 26, 2015

      lmaooo no b**** ciara would have never had her little 5 mins of fame !! but bey and rih ki ki they would have been around regardless tho

  11. Mark111 January 25, 2015

    This was the first video I seen of her’s. I don’t know how I didn’t know of Age, but One In a Million was THAT album in 96 and 97. Yes her voice was soft and rich, but she also had a deep tone as well. Her style is still to this day like no other, the OG of Pretty Girl Swag. Aaliyah was so dark, street, yet smooth and s***. She will forever hold the crown as Princess of R&B.

  12. BeyRihLiyah January 25, 2015


  13. BeyRihLiyah January 25, 2015

    can yall please do a write up/ rewind on the Aaliyah self titled era!!!!!!!

    • Mark111 January 25, 2015

      The older I get, the more I love that album. Sure One In A Million was her most iconic album, but her self-titled was the most dark and risky.

      • BeyRihLiyah January 25, 2015

        right from the Aaliyah album was everything from the ultimate popness of more than a woman to the pop rock of what if to the melodrama baroque of I refuse to the latin tinged read between the lines man ol man I love the red album

    • Brandy Norwood Slayz January 26, 2015

      yes!! This is from my favorite Aaliyah era!

  14. BeyRihLiyah January 25, 2015

    the flopara stans are quick to make fun of aaliyahs death but be the first ones on her post LMAOOOO

  15. Mark111 January 25, 2015

    @BeyRihLiyah don’t give the ZZZZ squad any attention. We all need to make Aaliyah’s post about AALIYAH, not any lessors or roach queens.

  16. ~The Arcade~ January 25, 2015

    What lovely commentary to express. The one and only Aaliyah is definitely missed.

  17. Topaz January 25, 2015

    I’m sad that I didn’t truly start to appreciate Aaliyah until recent years. She was truly a jewel and one of a kind. This song still bumps today.

  18. R January 25, 2015

    lil kim looked good in the video with the short hair

  19. R January 25, 2015

    lil kim should have kept this look in the video she looked amazing

  20. Stephy Jackson January 25, 2015

    Great Song.

    • Jackie-0 January 26, 2015

      Your shade is so M.C, I love it.

      • Stephy Jackson January 26, 2015


  21. TheElusiveLamb January 25, 2015

    Awwww. Aaliyah. When I was a little girl, she one of my ‘Superior Five’ (Mariah, Toni, Janet, Aaliyah, and Whitney). I loved her so much. I still remember when my half brother used to work for MTV and she performed for Spring Break. I wanted to meet her so bad, but because I was so young and my brother didn’t have enough pull, I couldn’t. He took a picture and showed me. She was so unbelievably GORGEOUS. I will miss her forever.

    • TheElusiveLamb January 25, 2015

      What’s crazy is how I was JUST looking at the huge I Care 4 U poster I bought right after her death. I miss her so much. 🙁

    • Tyler January 25, 2015

      Cute! memories. R&B was so refreshing and edgy back in the day. Brandy, Janet, and Toni are three of my favorite 90’s acts.

      • TheElusiveLamb January 26, 2015

        Toni is the most beautiful woman EVER! I idolize like crazy. I live for Janet. And the Vocal Bible is my girl as well. Full Moon is like my 10th favorite album in the world.

    • Brandy Norwood Slayz January 26, 2015

      um, no Brandy? She was the 90s teen queen!

  22. Tyler January 25, 2015

    @Cici Da Baddest
    Nah boo, if Aaliyah was alive there would be no Ciara. She’d have no purpose. Why have a knock off Aaliyah? When you could have the real deal real one?

  23. Dossome January 26, 2015

    This girl wasn’t even 18 when this song dropped.She was so ahead of her time

    • Brian310 January 26, 2015

      That’s what people don’t understand…she was making music that fans her age and older could get into all while being innovative and different…I miss her so much.

  24. Wheresmyjizzle January 26, 2015

    May she rest in peace. F**** you haterz. Go suck a diçk!!!!!!!

  25. Rihanna #1 fan t January 26, 2015

    R.I.P Aaliyah such a beautiful soul
    The good die young !!

  26. Jackie-0 January 26, 2015

    She was ok, cute voice, and a pretty girl, but her dancing was so stiff and lifeless.

    • Brandy Norwood Slayz January 26, 2015

      b**** u crazy go take your meds there was never anything stiff about Aaliyahs classic dancing!

  27. Brandy Norwood Slayz January 26, 2015

    Yes yes yes classic song classic album classic era from a classic artist. This is definitely one of my favorite Aaliyah joints! Love love love everything about this song & video her style her smooth & sassy vocals! yes just yes!

  28. MisdamenorFan January 26, 2015

    Iconic in her short time with us aided by the biggest and best writing duo of the last 20 years. Consistent hits! Fans lie, Stans lie… numbers don’t lie.

  29. Kemar (@S_C_Jr on Twitter) January 26, 2015

    I love this song. Aaliyah was so great! I miss her so much. I agree with y’all above. I would love an analysis of her final album. It was so good and her most acclaimed. It’s a shame such a talent was taken from us so soon. I’m glad I got a tattoo of her + her music still resonates with fans so I can always remember her.

  30. Diabetes UNBOTHERED January 26, 2015


  31. Diabetes UNBOTHERED January 26, 2015


  32. Barb-wire January 26, 2015

    Sad to say I only know her now coz I was still young during that time and wasn’t very much into music but now that I’ve grown up I can see what a wonderful person/singer/dancer she really was. RIP Babygirl you always missed.

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