As of Friday, August 20, almost 25 years after the album’s original release, Aaliyah’s One in a Million is available across streaming platforms and for download. The website aaliyahiscoming.com popped up for the first time in early August, and fans began to speculate whether or not that meant the singer’s discography would soon be dropped for all to hear. After her catalog was digitally unavailable for over a decade, in tandem with the 20th anniversary of her death, 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.
One in a Million is the first of many drops that Spotify will be releasing over the next few weeks. According to Rolling Stone, the soundtracks for Romeo Must Die and Exit Wounds will drop on September 3 and Aaliyah’s 2001 self-titled album, Aaliyah, will be available on September 10. On October 8, I Care 4 U and Ultimate Aaliyah will be released. Only nine hours after its release, One in a Million hit the top of the iTunes 100, surpassing all other new releases today.
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The album includes songs like “If Your Girl Only Knew,” “4 Page Letter,” “Hot Like Fire,” “Beats 4 da Streets” and “Got to Give It Up.” One in a Million features Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Slick Rick and more.
However, 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).
According to Pitchfork, “Aaliyah’s Estate has always been ready to share Aaliyah’s musical legacy but has been met with contention and a gross lack of transparency.” This statement came from Paul LiCalsi, an attorney for the state who also mentioned that “the Estate was not made aware of the impending release of the catalog until after the deal was complete and plans were in place.”
Twenty years after her untimely death, the “Hot Like Fire” singer remains one of the biggest R&B influences in the industry. Now that her music is streaming that influence will presumably only grow among younger R&B artists who are up and coming. Not only is One in a Million reaching the top of the streaming charts fast, but Spotify has also updated the “This Is Aaliyah” playlist, which includes all of her top hits as well as a few “lesser-known deep cuts” that show off the singer’s “signature vocal style.”
There was some speculation around whether or not Blackground Records would release the music, and few were more dubious than VSB’s Senior Editor, Panama Jackson. He took to Instagram earlier this month with the caption “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
Now, he has seen it, and has taken to Instagram again to say: “welp, ladies and gentlemen, the album is on steaming. Aaliyah’s ‘One in a Million’ officially exists again. It even includes the version of “hot like fire” that you want and need in your life. I cannot wait to bump this shit in my car. #lookatgawd #babygirl #aaliyah #itisdone.”