Roc Nation’s J. Cole has reflected on Aaliyah‘s legacy one day after what would have been her 32nd birthday and discussed a beat that he made in the late R&B singer’s honor.
According to Cole, he crafted an instrumental following the news of her death in 2001.
“Aaliyah, man, it’s such a [tragedy],” Cole said in an interview. “I had such a crush on Aaliyah. It was like a little boy crush but it was a true crush. Then when she died, I called my mentor because he was way older than me and I was like, ‘Man, you think it would be corny? I want to make a beat.’ I was always naming my beats, and this beat I wanna make for Aaliyah. Not a song, I just wanted to make a beat…I did a beat. I wish I could remember, like, I remember slightly what the beat sounded like. But that was my way to pay respect in my own little world, in my own room, just making a beat for her.” (Soul Culture)
Young Money rapper Drake sampled Aaliyah on his Thank Me Later album.
“Unforgettable,” produced by Noah “40” Shebib, also features Young Jeezy. The number begins with Aaliyah softly cooing, “Let me know,” over and over, part of her refrain from “(At Your Best) You Are Love,” which was on her 1994 debut, Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number. “This is really one of my dumbest flows ever, I haven’t slept in days/ And me and my latest girl agreed to go our separate ways,” Drake raps on the track. “So I’m single, thinking about what we had in ‘Missin’ You’/ But I ain’t saying I don’t got nothing for these bad bi—es, too.” (MTV)
R&B singer The-Dream received backlash for re-making Aaliyah’s “One In A Million” hit last year.
The-Dream tries his hardest to mimic Aaliyah’s signature vocal styling and fails miserably. For a song that is fairly simple in its melody and delivery, it proves extremely difficult for The-Dream to reproduce, even when he tries to make it his own. His high notes are sharp and his low notes sound as if he is running out of breath. (Neon Limelight)
Aaliyah was one of nine victims killed in a plane crash in August 2001.
A star in the R&B world before she was even out of her teens, Aaliyah’s promising career was tragically cut short by her death in a plane crash at age 22. Even with only three albums under her belt, she’d already earned a place as a talented trendsetter among the R&B elite. Following a successful transition to a more mature image, Aaliyah played a major role in popularizing the stuttering, futuristic production style that consumed hip-hop and urban soul in the late ’90s. (All Music)
Check out J. Cole speaking on Aaliyah down below: