Friday, May 16, 2008

Fader Magazine Icon: Aaliyah

I just bought the latest issue of Fader Magazine with Aaliyah on the cover. The article is made up of various people from her friends to colleagues to family all commenting the impact that she left in this world. Here are a few:

Missy Elliott: Me and Tim, our sound was so far left that it was kinda hard for people. They liked it, but they didn’t know if they really liked it, because it was so different from everything else on the radio. But the weird thing was, as soon as we did “One in a Million,” she immediately thought it was a hit. We didn’t have to convince her, she was like, I’m telling you, this is hot. I knew then there was a chemistry. She wasn’t close-minded. She was an artist that got it.

Timbaland: She was a sister to me. She was very talented and gave a lot at a young age. I miss her very much.

Jomo Hankerson: In the process of recording One in a Million, we got a demo from Timbaland and Missy. The song was called “Sugar and Spice,” which felt a little too kiddie to us, but the structure of the record, the melody, had what became Tim’s signature triplebeat on it. We were overwhelmed, and we sent it to Aaliyah. She called us back like, The track is crazy, this is the best thing I’ve ever heard. So we flew Timbaland and Missy into Detroit to work with her.

Atlantic thought we should remix the record [One In A Million] and take the triplebeat down to make it more radio-friendly, but we were very bullheaded about it. We heard they were trying to get remixes done, so we took the tapes out the studio! Back in those days before ProTools you could really control where the music went. If you had that two-inch reel, you had the record. So we grabbed the two inch reels and all the tapes so nobody could do any unauthorized remixes and we stuck to our guns on that version of the record.

Cassie: The first song that I learned when I went to meet with producers was “Miss You.” When you’re working on a song and you want to put yourself in a place, you think of someone you want to emulate. I think about her a lot. She’s a constant part of the music-making process for me. I defi nitely feel like we’ve faced similar criticisms. I met a lot of people who knew her personally who told me she had a hard time performing live. I watched her on Regis and she was just sitting on a stool with her hair over her eye and maybe she didn’t hit the right notes, but you didn’t care because she believed in herself so much. That’s what you look up to as a young girl.

Ciara: I have tons of respect for her. It’s funny too, because I remember a time period when Missy Elliott was telling me that I reminded her of Aaliyah and I felt that was really touching because she was saying that I reminded her of her on a personal note and I’ve heard so many great things about her personality. I heard she was very sweet and for Missy to say that was very, very meaningful to me. As an artist too, because of those comparisons, it has really, really motivated me to create my own thing and just be true to who I am. If she was here, I would’ve loved to maybe do a song or do a video together. To be able to merge our styles would’ve been really cool.

Mark Ronson: I still remember, and I said this in my speech out of guilt for beating Timbaland for the Producer of the Year Award [at the 2008 Grammys], getting the “One in a Million” 12-inch, putting it on my turntable, and playing it over and over even though I didn’t quite know what to make of it. Aaliyah sounded like a fairy whispering over this insane hi-hat pattern. There were no other slow-tempo records then, there was just Ginuwine’s “Pony” and “One in a Million,” so if you were gonna play them in a hip-hop club you were making an event of it.

Barry Hankerson: It really popped open for Static and Missy and Timbaland as well as Aaliyah; that was a crucial role that I had, because nobody had ever heard their music at that point. In fact, Craig Kallman at Atlantic Records told me I was crazy for even listening to it. We did One in a Million with very little money. We were stressed because we had been so successful with the fi rst album, and we knew we had to follow it up, but she was never worried. She was just like, It’s gonna be fi ne Uncle Barry. This is my time. Don’t worry.

Tank: She was really adamant about developing the power in her voice. She was like, I like singing pretty, and I like having the angelic voice, but I want to sing harder. I want to sing from the soul. With singing, it’s not totally about what you can do, it’s about being able to see where to put these things. Aaliyah could do all the runs, but to be like an artist painting, to know where to put the tree, it takes a little more imagination. Her confi dence was everything. She was like, I’m a woman and I’m Aaliyah, I can try it if I want to.

Method Man: The word in the hood was, she had a cockeye. Cause she always wear them shades, yahmean? But the next album came out andit was like, Whoa, she killin it on some real warrior shit. I didn’t see anyone doing what she did. I mean, Britney Spears triedbut I laughed at that fuckin video. It was hilarious, yo. I liked that song Britney bit, where Aaliyah had the snake [“We Need A Resolution”]. It was deep.

Download the full article

As for myself I got into Aaliyah the minute I saw the video for "Back And Forth." Something about her, she had this swagger, her voice was really smooth and deep and most of all controlled no screeching, and the way she moved was so fluid and effortless. When I heard "One In A Million" my jaw literally dropped. I couldn't believe it was the same girl who did "Down With The Clique" and it was the first time I heard a beat stutter like that. I just didn't understand how someone could do that to a beat. I copped her album the day it came out and as much as I loved the song "One In A Million", it was when I heard "Heartbroken" that everything changed for me. I never listened to music the same way after that track. To this day it's the most played Timbo track I own and definitely a top 5 Tim beat for me. I think a huge piece of Tim and Missy passed when Aaliyah did as their music has never been the same since. Rest in peace baby girl!

What about all of you? When and how did you get into Aaliyah?


  1. LOL at method man's comments, and LMAO at Cassie tryna draw comparisons between herself and Aaliyah.... she should be careful there LOL. I doubt Aaliyah stank as much as Cassie did on 106 & Park ROFL.

  2. In september 10 years ago. I was 13 and heard 'Are you that somebody' on the radio and was awestruck, never heard anything like it and the song opened my eyes (and ears) forever.

  3. Like a majority of us 90s kids, "Back And Forth" introduced me to Aaliyah. It was the only song that I thought she put out. I completely missed the "One In A Million" era. "Are You That Somebody" was out of this world. Back then I only liked her as a singles artist. From then I began to love every Timbo-produced single she put out. Like "Are You That Somebody" they were fresh and mindblowing. To me Aaliyah's image and music complemented each other throughout her career.

  4. I first knew something bout Aaliyah when "Are u that Somebody" came out but at the time i didn't know who it was or what the song was called lol!!... A few years later try again came out and i really loved that song... and thought aaliyah was great in that video.

    What really opened my ears & eyes forever was the song & Video for "We Need a Resoultion"... OMG!! she was so beautiful in that first frame of the clip when she was sittin' at the end of the bed... the snakes... outfits everything!!! She had very many hot stares and look-aways from the camera that would of made every guy stand up and take notice!

    Plus that started my music relationship wit Timbaland & Missy... that was in the "Get ur Freak on" days... another personal favourite of mine... WE MISS U AALIYAH... BABYGIRL... RIP :-)

  5. im wid boogie i started off with bak and fourth and den down wid my clique. i always remember the lyric from that song "if your not down wid my clique, den ur jus doodoo on a stick" XD i used to love dat bak in da day. but wot made aaliyah for me was wen she started workin wid tim and missy, from missy elliotts - best friend to heartbroken and 4page letter, heartbroken is one of my faves of hers as wel, along with dont know what to tell ya, we need a resolution, john blaze and more than a women. aaliyah bought the best out of tim. she will be missed dearly

  6. Ah! Dass easy... I nu Lily wen d tracc "More Than A Woman" came out... As of then, i was already a Timmy fan but wen i hurrd tha beat to dat tracc, hmmm y'll shud know hw i felt. It was soo amazin dat i had to reasearch all other traccs she made. So dass hw i nu her & likd her mor coz i hurd she was gon do tha sountracc to ma favorite film of all tym "The Matrix", but alas dass wen she passd... R.I.P baby :(

  7. I was feeling Aaliyah when she dropped her "Age Ain't Nothing But A Number" album, but it wasn't until she dropped "One In A Million" that I literally stopped in my tracks. The sound of that album was like nothing I have ever heard. It was so cutting edge for someone only 17 years old. That day I knew she was something different. She had style and sophistication beyond her years.

    She wasn't your average pop fluff like Brandy and Monica. She didn't care about putting out singles that were safe and having them go to number one. She challenged her fans and listeners. She could've easily sold 4-5 million records had she done an r&b-pop album like her peers, but she didn't. She was a risk taker.

    Next to her music, I adored her voice. It was so versatile; she could truly do anything with it. I feel she's underrated as a vocalist due to the fact that her signature sound is falsetto with a breathy tone. People are quick to write that off as being a weak singer, but I call it style. I've heard her sing a full on ballad and she can blow. She was a minimalist. A believer in less is more.

    I sometimes get angry, even today, because I feel like we've been robbed of something so special; an artist who constantly gave great, timeless music. I look at Beyonce and Ciara and laugh because they don't have the same musical sensibility that Aaliyah had. She was more mature at 17 then they are in their 20s. She knew the importance of growing as an artist and not spreading yourself to thin by constantly throwing yourself out in the media.

    RIP Baby Girl, you are forever missed.

  8. My cousin was ALWAYS a fan of Aaliyah from day one. So I'd heard of her early on. Her style always stuck with me, because she was just original with the baggy pants, eye patch and car plates. I liked her from "At your best (Youa re love)" (Steppers remix) and then fell in love with her big time at "One in a million". That joint is timeless, as are most of Aaliyah's songs.

    She was an artist who always showed evolution. I thought she was pretty ugly in the beginning, but she just turned into this stunning young lady as she got older. Her music got better, her vocals got better, she just really evolved. It upsets me when I think about the kind of music she'd be putting out if she were still around. She'd be shutting these other bitches down.

    I think that's part of why I like Ciara so much. She channels alot of Aaliyah's individual swagger an doverall likeability.

  9. Keri Hilson energy is being previewd on amazon here

  10. I agree with most of everybody my cousin got me on Aaliyah her first album, and then i heard One in a Million everybody and they momma including myself trying to figure out which person did this beat and this fly girl singing over it i just got into the superfriends from there on.

  11. there was also a feature on Static in the back, a little brief overview and then commentary on some of his songwriting and singing projects ... as for first hearing Aaliyah, I can remember listening to Back and Forth on the radio, and then If Your Girl Only Knew, both were grate, and then I saw that crazy video, and then One in a Million, 4 Page Letter, ...

  12. We all talk about how good "One in a Million" was... but her self-titled 3rd was also a great maturing album for her... it showed a verstility in her music and style and showed she was a mature artist way beyond her years.

  13. keri's new single snippet has leaked.

  14. Well im a little on the younger side so it was kinda hard for me to be into rnb and hip-hop music. I was 4 when One in a Million came out and 9 when she died. I truly didnt give a fuck when she died. I nvr heard her name before her death when ppl made a big deal about it.

    When I was 12 I met this girl that was OBSESSED with her and i wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I downladed a couple songs and put them in my ipod but never listend to them. Then i was bored one day and said why not. I heard I Care For You and fell in love!!! The little piano tim throws in their is crazy!!!

    This was when Promiscuos had just came out and I LOVEEEEEEEED promiscuos!! Then i researched a lil more and found out tht the ppl that did Promicuous and the Aaliyah songs were the same ppl! Thats hwo I fell in love with Aaliyah and Tim. Now Im 16 and Im still in love with both. One In a million has been played 53 times on my ipod!!!!! Thats the most i have!!

  15. ewwww i just heard energy!!! if keri knew what was good for her she would not release that as her first single!! wheres tim??? that song dosent even sound like polow either?
    its a good song but just not 1st single material... she needs a banger like Try Again, SexyBack Promiscuous or Way I Are...

  16. Nobody has heard the Usher "Here I Stand" snippets yet?

  17. Nobody has heard the Usher "Here I Stand" snippets yet?

  18. chris cornell news.......

    kinda old but nvr reported on here. I just found it.

  19. "One In A Million" and "4 Page Letter" are two of the SICKEST songs... ever.

  20. just like u and everyone else thats a fan4lyfe back n forth killed it and yo Heartbroken is one of her illest mid tempo ballads...honestly every track aaliyah has done i have on my ipod...a special mp3 folder on my pc and 2 2gb memory sticks with all her songs and remixes for my psp...i never go anywhere without her music at the touch of a button...just for the record especially for all you youngins that dont kno...Aaliyah Timbaland Missy Elliott Ginuwine Magoo & Playa heavily influenced and changed music as we know today...for example ever since Timbo dropped Shock Value with his hip hop 80's electro pop sound most of the music out this year is heavily influenced by that album or his boy Danja's style its so funny back in the Aaliyah ERA no one would admit they were biting them back then and even till today...i miss the days when Timbo use to throw in baby noises, a chicken cluck, or even a devilish giggle would make every track unique and addictive...I hope they release some old but new material from Aaliyah...we all know that someone is sitting on them (hint hint weirdo greedy brother of hers) sorry i always thought and felt a weird vibe from him...anyways sorry for tha RANT but always missing Aaliyah


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