Music by Aaliyah to be released 20 years after her death

Taylor Burnfield 

tburnfie@uccs.edu  

     On Aug. 25, 2001, Grammy-nominated singer Aaliyah died in a plane crash. She was flying home after shooting the music video for her song “Rock the Boat.”

 She was only 22 years old. 

     Aaliyah’s career began in 1994 when she was just 15 years old. At a young age, Aaliyah completely transformed the sound of ’90s R&B and was dubbed the “Princess of R&B.” She influenced artists such as Beyoncé, The Weeknd, Drake and many others. 

     Aaliyah sold millions of albums between 1994 and 2001. Despite her contributions to the music industry, the majority of her catalog is not yet available for streaming.  

     The only full-length album that has been released is her controversial first album “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number” produced by accused child sex predator R. Kelly.  

     Aaliyah’s former record label introduced her to Kelly. Kelly married Aaliyah in an illegal marriage ceremony in 1994. Aaliyah was 15; Kelly was 27. Kelly bribed a government employee to create a fake ID for Aaliyah. Their marriage was later annulled.  

     Fans have refused to buy or stream “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number” due to Kelly’s involvement with the album.  

     Aaliyah’s former record label, Blackground Records, recently announced that they would begin releasing her entire discography on streaming platforms starting this month.  

     Her second album “One in a Million” was released on Aug. 20. Her third album “Aaliyah” will be released on Sept. 10. Two compilation albums, “I Care 4 U” and “Ultimate Aaliyah,” will be released on Oct. 8, according to Metro Times. 

     Not only is Blackground Records promising to finally release Aaliyah’s music, but the label also plans to release previously unavailable albums by JoJo, Timbaland, Toni Braxton and others. 

     But why has it taken 20 years for Aaliyah’s full catalog of music to come out? 

     Aaliyah’s former record label, Blackground Records, is owned by Aaliyah’s uncle Barry Hankerson. There have been disagreements between Hankerson and Aaliyah’s other family members over the release of her music. It is not immediately clear why some family members do not want Aaliyah’s music released.  

     Recently, Hankerson made a deal with Empire Records so that Aaliyah’s music can be made available for streaming.  

     Aaliyah’s memory can now stay alive through this new catalog and is no longer defined by one album produced by Kelly.  

Aaliyah in 2001. Photo courtesy of iHeart.com