When Aaliyah’s groundbreaking album, One In A Million, was released in 1996, the album spent 68 weeks on the Billboard 200, peaking at No. 18. Re-released on its 25th anniversary last week by Blackground Entertainment—a week that coincided with the 20-year commemoration of Aaliyah’s tragic death—One In A Million is now a No. 1 hit, according to Vibe magazine:
The double-platinum Timbaland and Missy Elliott-produced masterpiece is the No. 1 Catalog Album and No. 1 Digital Album. It also peaked at No. 2 on Top R&B Albums and entered the Billboard 200 at No. 10.
While the demand had long been high, previously only Aaliyah’s debut, Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number was available on streaming platforms. As previously reported by The Root, the decision to release Aaliyah’s sophomore effort to streaming platforms was a contentious one, as her uncle, Blackground Records founder Barry Hankerson came head-to-head with the late singer’s estate.
...there has been considerable controversy around the release between Aaliyah’s uncle, Barry Hankerson, head of Blackground Records and holder of all rights pertaining to her music, and the estate of Aaliyah Haughton. While we were all surprised by the news of the release, the estate was reportedly blindsided, having no idea it was forthcoming until the deal had been signed. To date, all the estate has expressed is how much it wants to protect the singer and her legacy (h/t Rolling Stone).
“The Estate was not made aware of the impending release of the catalog until after the deal was complete and plans were in place,” said Paul LiCalsi, an attorney for the estate, in a statement to Pitchfork.
“I decided to release Aaliyah’s music in order to keep her legacy alive,” Hankerson explained in a statement about the release (h/t Vibe), in which he also noted, “I’m sorry it took so long, but when you lose a family member so unexpectedly, it takes time to deal with that type of grief.”
Nevertheless, the success of the re-release was understandably cause for celebration by Blackground, as the label shouted out the belated Billboard honors on social media. “For the first time ever, 25 years after its release, Aaliyah’s ‘One In A Million’ made the Top 10 on the Billboard 200 Chart this week! Thank you to all of Aaliyah’s fans, both old and new, for the support,” read an Instagram caption which asked fans to name their favorite track.
The remainder of Aaliyah’s catalog, which is also available for preorder on vinyl, CD, and cassette, along with exclusive merchandise, will be available to stream by October, and Spotify will be commemorating the artist’s “lasting legacy [and] releasing the entirety of Aaliyah’s catalog over the next few weeks,” per a press release provided to The Root. However, as Vibe notes, the beloved singer’s discography isn’t the only the only re-release from Blackground. Hard copies of the label’s other formerly archived releases—including music from Toni Braxton, Tank, JoJo, are also now available, and will also soon be on streaming platforms.