Canadian producer Noah “40” Shebib recently discussed the backstory to plans for Drake to put out a posthumous Aaliyah album and why the project never saw the light of day.
According to the Toronto hitmaker, the late R&B singer’s family personally reached out to him to put together the studio release.
“Aaliyah’s label Blackground–the Hankersons, her uncle and cousin–came to me and said if she was around she’d want you to do this [posthumous] project. I’ve been obsessed with Aaliyah forever, and I know Drake has his relationship with her. But that opportunity was mine. Drake said, “Can I do it with you?” and I was like, “Of course, we’ll do it together.” The world reacting to Drake’s involvement so negatively, I just wanted nothing to do with it. That was a very sad experience for me. I was naïve to the politics surrounding Aaliyah’s legacy and a bit ignorant to Timbaland’s relationship and everybody else involved and how they’d feel.” (VIBE)
40 also revealed despite Aaliyah’s longtime close friend Timbaland’s approval, he did not feel comfortable enough to move forward with the LP.
“Tim said to me “Don’t stop, make the album.” I think that was Tim taking the position of, “I’m not going to stop you. If you’re not going to do it, that’s your decision.” But ultimately, I wasn’t comfortable and didn’t like the stigma. We released [“Enough Said”], but I was seven songs deep. [Aaliyah’s] mother saying “I don’t want this out” was enough for me. I walked away very quickly.” (VIBE)
Last month, Timbaland acknowledged putting Drake on blast in interviews for keeping the singer’s memory alive with posthumous tracks.
New Tim is more thoughtful about what he says, or at least quicker to apologize for saying it, like when he said earlier this year that Chris Brown and Drake’s remixes of deceased songstress Aaliyah’s vocals would never work, because only Timbaland, as her soul mate, could do them. “When I look back, I say, Man, I would feel some kind of way, too,” he says. “I was like, ‘You right, I’m wrong.’?” (New York)
In 2012, Drizzy talked about working on a potential posthumous Aaliyah project.
“People should be really excited. People thought it was my single; it’s not my single. It’s all off of an Aaliyah project that me and 40 are commanding and 40’s just doing some incredible, some incredible music right now,” Drake revealed in an interview. “To get 13, 14 new Aaliyah songs, everybody should be excited. It’s not about me. It’s not about 40. It’s about her and her fans and us just getting the opportunity to give you something that we feel is great. And the people around her, everybody from her family to her old management and label, were like, ‘If there’s anyone out that can do it right now, it’s [you] and 40.’ And that was an honor and we’re going to pull in some classic people, anybody who used to work with Aaliyah that was essential in her career we definitely hope to have them involved. So it’s great. You get a new Aaliyah album this year on top of everything.” (Much Music)
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