Never before Aaliyah, has an artist’s death so deeply affected me. Clearly, I didn’t know her personally, rather, like the rest of the world, I knew her only through her music and film work. I think the part that affected me was the senselessness of her death, the tragedy of it all. Just before her untimely death on August 25th, 2001 I had purchased her eponymous third album. While never a ravenous fan of the R&B genre, to me, Aaliyah‘s smooth-as-silk vocals transcended all genres of music and her album was the perfect blend of R&B, hip-hop and pop. Something about that album just spoke to me and it remains to this day, one of my favorites.
Billed respectfully as “Enough Said,” by Aaliyah featuring Drake, the song was produced by Noah “40” Shebib (JoJo‘s new single “Demonstrate” + “Un-Thinkable (I’m Ready)” by Alicia Keys). Aaliyah‘s timeless vocals seem to float over the dark & moody soundscape created by Shebib, a true testament to her strength and versatility as an artist. Not sure when these vocals were recorded, but reports of as-yet unreleased Aaliyah masters and demos have been floating around since after her death.
Back in March, Drake hinted that he had something in store involving the late chanteuse but wouldn’t divulge any more than that. Now there are talks of an entire new posthumous album, spearheaded by Drake. The odd thing is that Drake and Blackground appear to be moving forward without the involvement of longtime Aaliyah collaborators and friends, Timbaland and Missy Elliott. Timbaland has been rather vocal about his lack of involvement, not dismissing Drake‘s project but rather saying he should be involved out of respect for her memory. While Drake‘s love for Aaliyah isn’t new-found (“Unforgettable,” off his debut album, samples “At Your Best (You Are Love)” and Drake has a tattoo of Aaliyah’s face on his back) I am inclined to agree with Tim that he and Missy should be involved in some capacity.
Regardless of who puts out new music, I’m just thankful that we’re getting to hear new Aaliyah music at all. I’m also hopeful that, if Blackground releases an entire posthumous album, it’s of the same quality and caliber as “Enough Said.” R.I.P. Baby Girl.