Aaliyah Featuring Drake – Enough Said
Popular music is full of the sounds and voices of stars that’ve since departed the earth as we know it. Aaliyah Dana Houghton – better known under her performing moniker, Aaliyah – is one of those voices. She died in 2001, but her popularity has continued since her death, with several posthumous releases ensuring her legacy stays alive. This most recent release comes courtesy of Canadian rapper Drake, who has woven his own rhymes around a previous unreleased Aaliyah vocal. Her soulful voice earned her the nickname of the Princess of R&B, and “Enough Said” shows you why. It gels well with Drake’s style of hip hop – more understated and subtle than mush other material in the genre.
‘Enough Said’ was produced by Drake’s long time collaborator, Noah “40″ Shebib. And don’t be thinking this is a one off – the Blackground record label (founded by Aaliyah’s uncle) recently confirmed that a whole album of new Aaliyah material is in production, and is to be executive-produced by Drake and Shebib.
“The idea is to release new music for her die-hard fans, and also reintroduce her music to a new generation that doesn’t really understand how much influence she has had,” Blackground’s Jomo Hankerson (Aaliyah’s cousin) told Billboard. “We really felt like it was time. There’s a real new generation that doesn’t know her necessarily, and we wanted to continue her musical legacy with this new generation. That’s one of the reasons why we wanted to do very contemporary music. We didn’t want to make it a nostalgic project; we already did that with the I Care 4 U album. The idea was to release new music for her diehard fans, and also reintroduce her music to a new generation that doesn’t really understand how much influence she has in the music that they’re listening to today.”
The new album is the subject of much rumour and speculation. Timbaland and Missy Elliot – early collaborators with Aaliyah and two people she identified as being music allies when she was alive – have denied any involvement with the new album, although Blackground insist they are in talks with the two artists, according to the Guardian.
Aaliyah’s passing was a shock to everyone – she was amongst nine people who were killed when their plane crashed and burst into flames shortly after taking off in the Bahamas following a video shoot.
Born in 1979 in New York, Aaliyah was raised in Detroit and began performing at age 11 when she sang with Gladys Knight. Her first album was produced by R Kelly and titled Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number. It came out when she was 15 – and sold millions, amidst the controversy that she and R Kelly had a secret marriage. She had shot to fame, appeared in the Jet Li martial arts smash Romeo Must Die and had signed to appear in a sequel to The Matrix when she died. The crash itself was also controversial, with an autopsy finding that the pilot had traces of cocaine and alcohol in his system.
Aaliyah’s death affected millions of her fans worldwide, including Drake, who always referenced the soul diva as one of his influences. Backstage at Ovo Festival, Drake said he was excited about working on the material: “To get 13, 14 new Aaliyah songs, everybody should be excited. It’s not about me. It’s about her and her fans and us just getting the opportunity to give you something that we feel is great.”
Whatever your take on posthumous releases – good taste, bad taste, very necessary, not necessary at all – there are bound to be legions of fans who don’t mind getting their ears on new material from a late great. RIP Aaliyah.