Later this month, it’ll be exactly 20 years since the world lost Aaliyah Dana Haughton—fondly known as “Baby Girl.”
On Wednesday, Twitter started buzzing when everyone realized the following website existed: aaliyahiscoming.com.
To sum it up, it looks like Aaliyah’s uncle/former manager and label chief Barry Hankerson has officially released a teaser for her upcoming full catalogue release. Though we were definitely excited to see the promising news, a bulk of us were all, “We’ll believe it when we see it.”
Variety provides more background on the matter:
Most of Aaliyah’s official discography has never appeared legally on streaming services—and remains arguably the most popular catalog not to do so, since all three of her albums have been certified double platinum and would have racked up much bigger numbers had two of them not been essentially unavailable since the advent of streaming. Her sleek, street-savvy image and innovative, Timbaland and Missy Elliott-helmed hits helped pave the way for countless single-named R&B singers who followed — not least Rihanna. Yet only her R. Kelly-helmed 1994 debut, “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number,” and a handful of singles are legally available on streaming services.
Speaking of Kelly, his highly controversial relationship with (and eventual marriage to) the then-teenaged Aaliyah will be presented as evidence by prosecutors (alleging that Kelly had “sexual contact” with her at the time) during his Brooklyn federal trial, per judge approval.
To say fans have been on a rollercoaster ride regarding the possibility that we can finally stream Aaliyah’s complete catalogue would be a huge understatement. That desire was only further ignited after the recent release of Normani’s new single, “Wild Side,” heavily inspired by Aaliyah’s “One In a Million” (though Normani’s team stated the song doesn’t contain a direct sample).
However, our collective cautious skepticism isn’t the biggest hurdle right now. Shortly after the website spread across social media, Aaliyah’s estate—which has been mostly silent since the singer’s death—combatted the decision via a thorough statement.
“Protecting Aaliyah’s legacy is, and will always be, our focus. For 20 years we have battled behind the scenes, enduring shadowy tactics of deception with unauthorized projects targeted to tarnish,” the estate’s statement, via Aaliyah’s official social media accounts, begins. “We have always been confused as to why there is such a tenacity in causing more pain alongside what we already have to cope with for the rest of our lives. Now, in this 20th year, this unscrupulous endeavor to release Aaliyah’s music without transparency or full accounting to the estate compels our hearts to express a word—forgiveness.”
The estate continued noting that they will “continue to defend ourselves and her legacy lawfully” and that they ultimately desire “closure and peace.”
Additionally, coming this month is the much-anticipated book by author and journalist Kathy Iandoli titled, Baby Girl: Better Known as Aaliyah. This week, details of the book emerged due to a report by The Daily Beast, with claims that Aaliyah was given a sleeping pill prior to boarding the plane that later crashed in the Bahamas, resulting in the death of the singer and the other eight passengers on board. However, Iandoli took to social media with a thread to express her concerns about the nature of the reporting, noting, “Speaking with Aaliyah fans all week, and I want to be very clear: the headlines suggesting my book says she was drugged and carried on a plane are NOT what is written in my book. The news outlets have been twisting this story for days, and it’s getting to be too much.”
Updated: 8/5/2021, at 2:03 p.m. ET: Life comes at you fast. The Root has received a press release from Aaliyah’s record label Blackground Records announcing that the late singer’s entire catalogue is now available for pre-order. There are various shipping dates depending on the product—some albums (hard copy CD and digital) shipping as earlier as the end of August and as late as October.
To peruse the available collection and shop around, head to blackgroundrecords.net.