Rising R&B starlet Aaliyah Dana Haughton died in 2001 when a small plane… (Jim Cooper / Associated…)
This week the blogosphere has reignited with talk that a posthumous album from Aaliyah could be in the works, after a source revealed to HipHopDX that Canadian rapper-singer Drake had been recruited to executive produce the project.
Fans of the the late R&B songbird are still patiently awaiting a disc of vaulted works from the singer who helped define and reinvent the sound of ’90s urban music before her 2001 death in a plane crash in the Bahamas.
The prospect of Drake being at the helm only further greased the wheels of the rumor mill.
Sure, the Young Money MVP has largely lived up to the pomp and hype he’s amassed over his still-early career, but its Aaliyah’s heavy influence on Drizzy that’s made the latest rumor a bit more believable.
Drake’s love of Baby Girl is no secret and he’s gunning for the title of her biggest fan.
He sampled her hit "At Your Best (You Are Love)" on his song "Unforgettable"; her image can been seen on his earpiece during performances; she appeared in a montage during his recent Club Paradise Tour; and when he sat down for an interview with The Times last year the ink wasn’t dry on a tattoo of the singer on his back -– he's since added a second permanent tribute: Toronto’s area code, 416, on his ribcage; the four is partially filled in to look like the number 1, which memorializes her birthday of Jan. 16.
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Beyond his fan fixation, Drake certainly has the ability to channel the breathy falsetto and innovative, genre-blending beats that made Aaliyah groundbreaking for her time. Listen to any of his works, especially his latest opus, "Take Care," and it's clear that he's well-versed enough with her discography that he could bring her to younger listeners. The source went on to say Drake plans to unveil a new single, featuring her vocals, at his upcoming OVO Festival in Toronto on Sunday.
But again, nothing is confirmed. Her fans have grown accustomed to speculation about a potential disc, only to see nothing come to fruition. In March, producer-songwriter Jeffery "J. Dub" Walker (he penned "I Refuse" and "What If" for her final album) tweeted a disc was in the works. Her brother, Rashad Haughton, later said "no official album [is] being released and supported by the Haughton family.”
While Drake’s name is being tossed around on blogs, Aaliyah purists are likely skeptical of any project being released without imput from longtime collaborators/friends Missy Elliott and Timbaland, who has already said it wouldn’t be right for a project to happen without them. Timbaland said Drake has yet to reach out to him.
"I know they’re trying to drop some Aaliyah records, but if he do do it, it should be with me and him and Missy," Timbaland said in an interview with New York's Power 105.1 (WWPR-FM). "I don’t know what’s going on, but the proper way to do that would be for me, him and Missy to be all on the record. I produce it. But to put it on his album or to put it on his record or whatever, however it be, it would just not be right."