A decade after her 2001 death in a plane crash, Aaliyah’s music has finally hit streaming services following a deal by the late singer’s label, Blackground 2.0. The R&B singer’s 1996 sophomore album, “One In A Million,” has dropped on Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon Music and other platforms. The rest of her catalog, including the 2001 album Aaliyah and the soundtrack for Romeo Must Die is expected to drop over the next few weeks on all major streaming platforms along with the release of the physical albums.
Aaliyah’s fans have flooded social media to share their excitement over the release.
Timbaland and Missy Elliott is credited with the production of “One In A Million” which includes the singles, “If Your Girl Only Knew,” “Hot Like Fire,” and “The One I Gave My Heart To.” The album sold three million copies in the Unites States and over eight million copies worldwide.
There has been an ongoing dispute between the late artist’s label, Blackground 2.0 which is run by her uncle and former manager Barry Hankerson and her estate over the release of her music. The label has been criticized for a ‘gross lack of transparency’ and for not keeping them in the loop about putting the music online. They were not in support of it.
“Protecting Aaliyah’s legacy is, and will always be, our focus. For 20 years we have battled behind the scenes, enduring shadowy tactics of deception with unauthorized projects targeted to tarnish,” read a statement on her Instagram. “Now, in this 20th year, this unscrupulous endeavor to release Aaliyah’s music without any transparency or full accounting to the estate compels our hearts to express a word – forgiveness. Although we will continue to defend ourselves and her legacy lawfully and justly, we want to preempt the inevitable attacks on our character by all the individuals who have emerged from the shadows to leech off of Aaliyah’s life’s work.”
Aaliyah made music that helped define the 90s r&b scene, and her musical legacy can still be felt and heard in the modern times.
“Her influence is everywhere, absolutely everywhere,” Birmingham-based singer/songwriter Jaydonclover tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.
“There was a timeless quality to her music but there was a level of class that she brought with swag and melodies,” says 27-year-old musician Samson Ashe.
They are both thrilled that the new generation will get to experience her music, as it streams for the first time.
According to Samson, Aaliyah set the blueprint for modern artists like Beyoncé, as one of the first of her time to broaden her horizons into ventures outside of music. “She was a triple threat in entertainment, no one was doing that at that moment in time,” he says. “Now, you have the Beyoncé model, and no one was really doing that – music, modelling, movies, being a triple threat and Aaliyah was the pioneer of that.”
In her time, Aaliyah’s lyrics were bereft of other people’s relationships unlike her female counterparts, whose song lyrics were written by men and were usually about stealing someone else’s boyfriend.
“A lot of the time singers would be talking negatively about the situations of love whereas Aaliyah would just talk about them, kind of in a nicer way, in a softer way,” says Jaydonclover.
“People today, they just have a different relationship with music,” says Jaydonclover, whose favourite Aaliyah song is either Are You That Somebody or Come Over. “I just hope that they’re able to appreciate the legacy she’s left behind and just understand that we don’t always have to be so harsh, so brash and so loud, it can accompany you when you relax, and when you’re chilling.”
“What Aaliyah always brings is a vibe. When you’re listening to One In A Million or you’re listening to Rock The Boat, it’s a vibe,” Samson says. “People need to allow her music to breathe and you’ll always catch the vibe.”
Check out the official music video of ‘One in a Million.’