Words by Emily Hyatt, Staff Writer
On August 5th, 2021, Blackground Records announced that Aaliyah Haughton’s complete discography would be available for streaming.
After twenty plus years of agony, fans will be able to indulge in Aaliyah’s albums. Whether it’s on Spotify, iTunes or on vinyl, her fans will be able to appreciate Aaliyah’s full discography.
Aaliyah Haughton, also known as Aaliyah, is an iconic figure from the 90s and early 2000s music and film scene. At the age of 15, Aaliyah rose to fame after the release of her first album, ‘Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number’. The album was a monumentary RnB piece as it intersected the silky, soul symphonies with the bassy bounce of Hip Hop. Additionally, the album gained controversy as it was produced by and featured R. Kelly. Fortunately, Aaliyah parted ways with R. Kelly and was later produced by Timbaland and Missy Elliott.
These collaborations developed Aaliyah as an artist. They illustrated the versatility of her voice and the work she contributed as well. Aaliyah also had a successful career in film. In 2001, her life ended abruptly, due to a plane explosion in the Bahamas. At the time, she was only 22.
Prior to the re-release, fans only had a handful of songs to appreciate, with the majority being from her first album. In order to obtain her newer hits, Aaliyah’s popular singles were imputed on Film Soundtracks and Playlists. Thus, music lovers were able to appreciate singles such as ‘More Than a Woman’, ‘Are you That Somebody?’ And ‘Try Again’, at the cost of the wacky album covers of ‘IT’, ‘Next Friday’ and ‘Dr. Doolittle’. Unofficially, fans would post Aaliyah’s unreleased albums on YouTube. This meant that fans could only cherish the albums at the expense of other organisations profiting from the Ad revenue and the views from the music videos.
Along with the release of Aaliyah’s albums, ‘One In A Million’ and ‘Aaliyah’, Blackground Records opted to distribute the soundtrack of ‘Romeo Must Die’ onto all streaming services. ‘Romeo Must Die’ is a modern-day, Hip Hop version of Romeo and Juliet. Not only does it star Aaliyah, but she massively contributes to the film’s soundtrack. The soundtrack features artists such as Destiny’s Child, Ginuwine, Joe and DMX, who also feature in the film. Even though this film has mixed reviews, the soundtrack is highly anticipated as it highlights the mixture of subgenres in hip hop as well as showing the smooth transitions of RnB into Hip Hop. Even though Aaliyah is dubbed as a Soul, RnB singer, her songs such as ‘Come Back in One Piece’ and ‘Are You Feelin’ Me’ have an underground Hip Hop flare to them. This establishes Aaliyah as an artist who can’t be put into a box.
The versatility of Aaliyah has allowed her to massively shape the current RnB scene. From her classic crop top and baggy pants look to her sultry makeup looks, Aaliyah’s style is still admired and replicated by artists like SZA, Kehlani, Rihanna and Normani. In particular, Normani has massively been inspired by Aaliyah. Normani’s performances heavily mirror Aaliyah’s highly choreographed music videos. Especially Normani’s recent VMA’s performance of her new single, ‘Wild Side’. Not only is the song produced by Timbaland but it samples Aaliyah’s track, ‘One In A Million’.
Aaliyah is a massive inspiration to artists and has impacted the way that artists perform, sing and look. After twenty years, her albums are still charting and her legacy lives on forever.