If the intro to Aaliyah’s “I Care 4 U” doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know what to tell you.
A month before her tragic passing, Aaliyah released her third studio album, Aaliyah—also fondly known as “the Red Album,” due to its red-filtered cover. Like everything else she put out during her brief life, it is an absolute masterpiece. On August 20, Blackground Records 2.0, led by Aaliyah’s uncle, Barry Hankerson, began releasing her discography on streaming platforms after years of battling with the late singer’s estate, starting with One in a Million. The album quickly rose to No.1 on Billboard charts after only 10 days of being available everywhere and more than 20 years since its release.
Today, the singer’s third and last studio album, Aaliyah, is on all streaming platforms, and the number of listens is already skyrocketing. The album includes iconic tracks like “Try Again,” “I Care 4 U,” “We Need a Resolution (feat. Timbaland),” “More Than a Woman,” and “Rock the Boat,” which would also prove to be the singer’s final video, as she and several members of her crew were killed in a plane crash en route home from the shoot in the Bahamas’ Marsh Harbour.
The album was originally released on July 7, 2001 and garnered four out of Aaliyah’s five Grammy nominations over the following two years. “Try Again,” “Rock the Boat,” and “More Than a Woman,” all received nominations for “Best Female R&B Vocal Performance” in 2002 and 2003, and the album itself was nominated for “Best R&B” album in 2002.
According to a press release sent to The Root:
Upon its initial release, the self-titled album received critical acclaim and charted at number two on the Billboard 200. Including hit singles “Rock The Boat” and “More Than a Woman,” the 2x RIAA Multi-Platinum album established a blueprint for R&B artists today...Released during a blossoming time in the R&B genre, ΛΛLIYΛH has since been cited by critics as one of the genre’s best and most influential records from this era. In 2005, the project ranked 66th on GQ’s “100 Coolest Albums in the World” then a few years later, it was named one of VIBE’s “150 Essential Albums of the Vibe Era.” Most recently, NPR listed the album as one of their ‘150 Greatest Albums Made By Women.’
Last week, Blackground Records released the soundtracks for Romeo Must Die: The Album and Exit Wounds: The Album on Spotify. And if you thought this was the last we’d be seeing of “Baby Girl’s” releases, you’d be mistaken—I Care 4 U and Ultimate Aaliyah arrive on October 8.