My Aaliyah CD collection.
I often wonder what singer-actress, Aaliyah, would be doing if she was still here. Can you all believe that it has been almost 20 years since her untimely death? The twenty-two-year-old died in a plane crash in August of 2001 after filming a music video in the Bahamas for the song, “Rock the Boat”, off of her self-titled third album. Growing up in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Aaliyah was one of my favorites. Plus her birthday is the day after mine. Shout out to all the Capricorns! Anywhoo, there’s no doubt about it that Aaliyah had an impact on millennials and her legacy for us ’80’s and ’90’s babies is unforgettable. From her signature sleek and straight hair and swoop, shades, makeup, and Tommy Hilfiger outfits, to her dancing and acting she was a standout and admired star whose influence can even be seen in various pop and r&b artists today. Aaliyah’s influence on this current generation is undeniable. Everybody from Normani and Tink to Drake and Jeezy have sampled her.
The sole focus of Aaliyah’s legacy shouldn’t be limited to her being an underage victim of R.Kelly’s because she was so much more than that. Aaliyah was a trailblazing star from her tomboy chic fashion style, to her futuristic sounding music produced by Timbaland, Missy Elliott, and Static Major, and her songs on 90’s movie soundtracks such as the animated film “Anastasia” and the comedy “Dr. Dolittle” to her budding acting career in films “Romeo Must Die” and “Queen of the Damned.” Aaliyah was on the rise.
However, there is a generation that isn’t as familiar with her music because it isn’t easily available. I feel like not having her music easily available is kind of erasing her musical legacy for future generations to listen to or sample. I still happen to have my old Aaliyah CD’s and imported the tracks to my music library on my computer. Aaliyah’s music is currently only available on physical CD, but CD’s are pretty much antiques in 2021 because most people download music from a cloud or streaming service. There have been rumors for years about all her music being in the works to be released for streaming on digital platforms. **UPDATE: Blackground Records is scheduled to release more of her discography on SPOTIFY starting August 20, 2021! I have mixed feelings. As an Aaliyah fan I’m glad the new generation will be able to finally listen to her music, but still find it messed up how Aaliyah, JoJo, Toni Braxton and other Blackground Records artists got treated and aren’t making money off their art being on streaming sites. The record industry and record labels are at times shady! Also, I wonder if someone or a media outlet has ever reached out Aaliyah’s mother or brother and asked them how they feel about her legacy or something, but maybe her family has declined. Who knows.
I liked the self-titled album and the track “Loose Rap” as well as “All I Need” off the posthumous compilation album “I Care 4 U.” Those happen to be underrated favorites of mine. As well as covers of The Isley Brothers songs like “At Your Best (You Are Love)” and “Choosey Lover.” There are so many tracks in her musical catalog that could’ve been singles and sound like they came out in 2021 instead of years ago. I still remember the Summer of 2001 thinking I was so “cool” being 10-years-old watching “106 & Park” with hosts Free and A.J. where Aaliyah promoted her last album. I was so sad when I learned she passed only days later. She accomplished so much in a short time. She really was “One in a Million.” So much talent gone too soon. May her legacy live on!