Today marks the 20th anniversary of the day R&B icon Aaliyah was killed in a plane crash. You can find out how influential she and her music is today after her death in the article. ⤵
▶ Who was Aaliyah?
Aaliyah was a New York-based R&B singer and actress who became a star as a teenager. At 14 she signed her first contract, at 15 she released her first album “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number”, on which R. Kelly worked as a producer.
TRIGGER WARNING ⚠
The next paragraph deals with the abuse of minors. This can be unsettling or traumatizing for some readers. If you don’t want to read this, just skip the next paragraph.
She was also – illegally – married to R. Kelly. The marriage certificate dated August 31, 1994 incorrectly stated that Aaliyah Is 18 instead of 15 years old. As a result, the title of the album has a rather shabby aftertaste from today’s. Especially since there are already serious allegations of abuse of minors against R. Kelly, for which he currently has to answer in court.
Nonetheless, the album was a great success and laid the foundation for a great career that Aaliyah should lie down for the next few years. Together with Timbaland as the new producer, she conquered the music world, began an acting career and became a real pop icon. On August 25, at the age of 22, she tragically died in a plane crash while flying back to Miami from a video shoot in the Bahamas. How much potential was seen in her and the scope of what a superstar the world was with Aaliyah has lost, the following comparison by Timbaland shows:
▶ Drake is Aaliyah’s biggest fan
Aaliyah has become a legend in her unfortunately far too short career. This also shows the love that superstars like Drake still have for them today – not to mention their many fans.
In 2010, on the ninth anniversary of her death, Drake Aaliyah wrote a letter in which he explains how much her death hit him at the time. A year later he had a photo of her printed on his in-ears, which he wears on stage. In any case, there are numerous references to them and samples in Drake’s music Aaliyahs Plant. In 2012 he announced even on a posthumous album by Aaliyah to work. However, the project was discontinued a little later, among other things because Aaliyahs Family was not behind it.
Drake has a number of faces tattooed on his back. In addition to the faces of his parents and other family members or his discoverer and mentor Lil Wayne, he also has Aaliyahs Face immortalized there – a true hardcore fan!
▶ Kool Savas, Shindy, Bushido: German rap loves Aaliyah
There are also numerous expressions of love for in Deutschrap Aaliyah and their music. A famous example is a line by Kool Savas that he rapped on the intro of his debut album just months after her death:
Even the younger generation has Aaliyah do not forget. Shindy samples the intro recorded by Timbaland on his song “Nautilus” Aaliyahs Mega success “Try Again”.
Nerd knowledge: The intro originally dates back to 1987. It is the start of the rapper Rakim on his song “I Know You Got Soul”. Timbaland quoted this 13 years later. In addition to Shindy, Moses Pelham also sampled the intro, but the original by Rakim.
Aaliyahs “Try Again” doesn’t only play a role with Shindy, it has also had a decisive influence on German rap over the past 20 years. Bushido grabbed the snare from the song and made it his trademark. For example, she is part of the beat from the all-time classic “Nie ein Rapper”, which made her legendary in German rap. Since then it has been used over and over again a number of times, especially by Bushido himself. For example on the song “Aaliyah” that Bushido made for his daughter. Bushido now even claims the snare for himself because he has used it so often:
▶ Aaliyah was and is a style icon
Aaliyah also had a great influence as a style icon. Aaliyah is considered the one who made the tomboy look cool. As a woman, this means not dressing according to the usual gender stereotypes. Instead in baggy pants, jerseys, bandanas – whatever you want. Her signature look, however, was short crop tops combined with loose trousers. A look that later, for example, Rihanna – a big one anyway Aaliyah-Fan – at the start of her career.
Billie Eilish’s fondness for wide baggy clothes could also be at least indirectly as a merit of Aaliyah watch.