Aaliyah has been quite the hot topic for the last week.
In addition to fan tributes from around the world pouring in to commemorate the 20th anniversary of her untimely passing, the late R&B singer’s penultimate studio album – ‘One in a Million’ – was finally released to streaming outlets by her record label, Blackground Records.
The imprint’s CEO Barry Hankerson – despite objection from Aaliyah’s estate – is not only moving forward with the release of her entire catalog to streaming platforms, but he is also working on her first posthumous LP (which will reportedly feature Chris Brown, Future, Drake, and many more of today’s hitmakers).
Those topics and many more were among the talking points Hankerson addressed when he visited ‘The Rickey Smiley Morning Show’ earlier this week.
Hop inside to see what he had to say about the R. Kelly trial, why Aaliyah’s music has been held from digital outlets for so long, and so much more.
HANKERSON ON WHY HE IS FINALLY RELEASING AALIYAH’S MUSIC TO STREAMING:
“I had never decided for it not to be out. It was just circumstances,” he said. “Streaming has been devastating to artists, small labels, and independent labels because you’re literally not making enough money to stay in business. So, we decided to pull back on our music to try to figure out a way to survive.”
Barry went on to elaborate on how the decision to ‘pull back’ became strategic as it created a demand that allowed for him to make ‘better deals’ for distribution.
HANKERSON REMEMBERS AALIYAH 20 YEARS AFTER HER PASSING:
“She was so sweet and so considerate and she loved to sing,” he said before adding that he can’t speak about her too long without crying.
HANKERSON ON WHEN HE FIRST DISCOVERED AALIYAH’S RELATIONSHIP WITH R.KELLY:
“To be very honest with you, of course, I was upset. I had to really, really consider what my actions would be,” he said. “And really I found out, I wasn’t a hardcore criminal. I couldn’t kill nobody. So, I took it, I’m a Muslim, and I went to Minster Farrakhan and we just prayed about it, resolved ourselves to let God handle him. I think that’s what’s going on. Ain’t no sense in two lives getting destroyed.”
HANKERSON ON IF HE’S KEEPING UP WITH KELLY’S CURRENT TRIAL:
“I just put a wall up to that. It’s just too emotional for me. It just brings back too many bad thoughts for my whole family. He impacted my whole family, you know. It’s just a bad thing.”