Pop Culture, Theory & Essay

Aaliyah, Drake, And Why We Lie When Famous People Die

Aside from the whole biracial Jewish-Canadian who first became popular by playing a pouty paraplegic on a teen soap opera that was only watched by the type of kids who forged doctor’s excuses to get out of gym class thing, perhaps the most interesting thing about Drake is how he tests the limits of his diehard fans’ fandom.

For instance, I have a friend who happens to be a diehard Drake fan. And, by being very pretty, very educated, somewhat emo, occasionally hipster, slightly Delta, and the type who “loves hip-hop, but not rap,” also happens to fit what I imagine to be the typical diehard Drake fan profile. On numerous occasions, she’s brought up the fact that Drake’s obsession with beef, boning strippers, and saying ridiculous things has made it difficult for her to continue to be his fan. But, a bit of cognitive dissonance allows her to get right back on the bandwagon.

I wonder, though, if Drake fans will be able to forgive him for being haughty enough to release an album featuring tracks from the patron saint of Urban Emo herself, the late Aaliyah Haughton.

We don’t have to wonder, though, how most Aaliyah fans seem to feel about this.

Below is a few tweets curated at AllHipHop.com

You can find a longer list of anti-Drake/Aaliyah collaboration tweets here. 

And, if interested, you can read one of the several articles published this week denouncing this duo.

That there’s been such pushback isn’t surprising. There are few artists who’ve received the type of posthumous reverence that Aaliyah has — it must be a rite of passage for all male hip-hop artists to record an interview saying they had fallen in love with her — and even Drake has turned his body into a bizarre Aaliyah shrine. And, given that she was more “cool” than she was talented — which is saying a lot because she was definitely very talented  — this unusual reverence is understandable

Thing is — and this is a phenomenon that goes much further than Aaliyah — I think we have a tendency to allow our reverence for dead celebrities to assign a certain mystique that almost transubstantiates them. Basically, when they die, we start to lie.

Usually, this process starts with saying something like “If Aaliyah were still alive, she’d…” a way of thinking that’s absurd on two different levels.

1. It presumes that you have any f*cking clue what the hell a dead person would be thinking/doing if they were still alive

In Aaliyah’s case, how do we know that she wouldn’t have wanted to collaborate with Drake?

If you’re old enough to remember listening to Aaliyah in high school, while Brandy had the pop charts and Monica resonated a bit more with the current and future ratchets, she seemed to be the go-to female R&B choice for the counterculture Black kids. Let’s forget for a second that Drake has become such a convenient person to snark. The type of music that populates his albums — moody, emo, occasionally haunting (basically, the type of music produced by people who either rock black eyeliner or date people who rock black eyeliner) — is exactly the type of music Aaliyah was known for. In fact, I can’t think of another current rap artist who’d be a better feature on an Aaliyah album than Drake. But, our mystical appreciation for her doesn’t allow us to fathom the idea that she’d even consider making music with him.

2. It completely disregards the possibility that the artist could have done what most other artists eventually do: fall off

Whenever I hear someone mention how different the rap game would be today if Biggie or Tupac were still alive, I always point back to the same person: DMX.

Why? Well, there may not have been another rap artist who was as universally revered as DMX was in 1997 and 1998. He debut album sold a trillion records and dominated the airwaves. People bought and fought over Clue and Flex mixtapes just to hear a new DMX track. As hard as it is to believe now, when people first purchased Jigga’s Hard Knock Life, “Money, Cash, Hoes” was the track people were most anticipating. He was even cast as the lead character in the biggest (and most ridiculous) hip-hop movie ever made.

Today though, 15 years later, DMX is equal parts punchline and crackhead. No one lists him on any “Top 20″ rankings, and a DMX release today might go double cat litter. It’s as if 97-99 didn’t even exist.

I’m bringing this up because DMX’s descent is the most obvious example of the fact that we have absolutely no clue what shape Aaliyah’s or Biggie’s or Tupac’s career would be in today if they stayed alive. They could have very easily fallen off just as DMX did. For all we know, Aaliyah could have had a Maia Campbell-esque breakdown, Biggie could have lost weight, moved to Nashville, and decided to do country gospel, and Tupac could be f*cking Khloe Kardashian. He might even have a reality show called “All Eyez On Me…and Khloe”

We just don’t f*cking know. But, not knowing is and will always be better than pretending that we do.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

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Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He resides in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes.

  • https://twitter.com/cnote220 Cheech

    Is it fair to say that Drake is really weird about this Aaliyah thing?

    • Loving Me

      Yes, very fair but I agree that no telling what Aaliyah would’ve wanted him to do if she was still around because I could actually see her working with him

      But I also think she’s overrated. Talented, extremely. Beautiful, definitely but the way she’s worshiped and lauded as the greatest to ever do it? Nah

      • https://twitter.com/cnote220 Cheech

        The album thing isn’t totally weird but the tats on the back is textbook stalker fandom

        • Loving Me

          Agreed. You couldn’t pay me to tat anybody’s face on me, let alone someone I didn’t even know

          • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

            Actually im not fully against the tattoos…ppl get pretty faces on them all the time his just happened to be Aaliyah. Birdman has Wayne’s face on him like he ever gave his mother more than a hug.

            • Loving Me

              That make’s me sad

            • GypsyCurl

              Is Birdman Lil Wayne’s daddy? I don’t wanna google it; it’s not that important.

              • legitimate_soul

                No. Weezy’s biological father had no hand in raising him, his step-father he loved was killed, and Weezy was around and signed to Cash Money as a pre-teen, so Baby is his father figure. After typing all that out, the saddest thing is “Baby is his father figure.”

      • Around the Way Girl

        It’s more about her demeanor than anything. She may not have been the “best” to ever do it, but she was definitely the coolest, smoothest, and most effortless.

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

        “But I also think she’s overrated. Talented, extremely. Beautiful, definitely but the way she’s worshiped and lauded as the greatest to ever do it? Nah”

        Talented? She’s a decent singer…in the studio!
        An actress? Not so much…

      • Rewind

        Nah that wasn’t it. It was simply that was on her way to hitting it big time before she passed. I guess because she was young, a woman, and black, that hit a lot of sore spots for people. Then Beyonce took that spot. So simply think, had she not died, would Beyonce have gotten the spotlight? Highly doubt it.

        • Britico Chick

          why do people but Bey and Aaliyah in the same category? No way – Beyonce is far more charismatic. If Aaliyah was still alive today, she would be struggling to keep up…and I don’t even think that Aaliyah was on her way to greatness!

          • Giggity Giggidy Gig goo.

            Stfu! They both sing r&b, so they are in the same category. Tell me how you think Beyonce is more characteristic? Beyonce is a young version of Tina Turner. Wtf is so characteristic about wearing mini skirts, wigs, and showing off your thighs? You might as well say Nicki Minaj is characteristic, too. And Beyonce does not write all her songs, she have been sued for copying off other designers, and her father was in Grammy committees when she won like 2 of them if not all. And how was Aaliyah going to struggling? Tell me, please. Aaliyah been nominated for a Grammy like 6,7 times, won a Soul Train Awards, and 2 MTV awards, and selling 110k a week. Not including she was going to be signed onto the Matrix and Sparkle.She was going to nobody though, right? Get that shit outta here!!!

        • Elizabeth

          Beyonce did not take anybody’s spot,have you forgotten that around 2000-2003 (before Beyonce’s solo career) Ashanti was the go to r&b girl, she was EVERYWHERE.The truth is people fall off, Aaliyah was at her height before she died but she probably would have fallen off,I mean look at Brandy who was HUGE.Most artists from the 90s didn’t have continued success in the 00s.

          Btw to the author Monica’s music isn’t THAT ratchet lol.

      • Britico Chick

        I so agree that she is overrated; yes, she made a few catchy tunes, but truly that is it. I don’t think she was a great dancer and neither was she a formidable actress

    • http://testorshia.blogspot.com Tes

      Very fair to say. I agree with one of the tweeters, Aaliyah may have had to put some states and legislation between her and Aubrey if she were still alive.

      • Loving Me

        I don’t. I honestly think that had she lived this reverence and obsession a lot of people have with her would have never grown to this magnitude. He probably would’ve been like Aaliyah? She still making records? smh plus I think she would have gone full scale into acting eventually anyway

        • http://www.iamyourpeople.com I Am Your People

          Co-sign on that acting comment. I think today she’d be more like J.Lo – acting and having a clothing line or something. Not singing

        • hehe

          I agree something about death that make ppl believe an artist is super saiyan or something. Aaliyah made good music but it wasn’t amazing. I can see being more of an actress if she was alive.

          • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

            Brandy and Monica going copper and aluminum now, Timbaland went pop and left everyone in the dust, but yeah tell me more how if Aaliyah was alive, Bey wouldnt be eating *cue Wonka meme*

            • https://twitter.com/#!/IluminatiNYC Todd

              ROTFLMAO

            • Rewind

              That’s what I be saying!

              Destiny’s Child would have remained a R&B group like Xscape if Aaliyah was still alive. Wouldn’t nobody even know how to spell her damn name. People would be like “why is there a girl with a name that rhymes with fiancee”?

          • GypsyCurl

            It’s not just a celebrity thing. People always do it.

            “Ray-Ray on death row” is finally executed and his momma in the first row crying and saying “He’s gone to heaven now.”

            Something about death that people no longer want to tell the truth about the person.

            I’ve never been to a funeral where someone said “He’s in he’ll now.” no matter how terrible of a person they were while living.

            • apple

              well, i have… the uncle got up there at the funeral and said “he in hell now” as the pastor tried to stop him and he said “no its true, it he definitely in hell now, no need to lie pastor”..worst funeral ever!

      • Come On People

        I don’t know. She did date Damion Dash (don’t forget R. Kelly, SMH). I don’t think her liking to spend time with Drake too far fetched.

        • http://www.styleillusions.com WIP

          I’m wondering when this R. Kelly thing supposedly took place since his ex-wife is on VH1 saying they were married for like 12 years…

          • bhillboy

            This “R. Kelly thing” was Aaliyah was married to R. Kelly. You may have been a youngster when this happened and maybe you weren’t paying attention. But they were married. He produced her first album. The marriage was annulled because she was underage. How’s that for irony.

            • legitimate_soul

              Yes. I remember a full article on it in Vibe where Aruh was talking about him marrying this underage girl that gave me side-eye years before the trial on other issues.

            • http://www.styleillusions.com WIP

              I was a youngster and I remember the controversy. Aaliyah’s stuff was out in 95-96. The timelines may conflict that’s pretty close…

      • http://www.FACEBOOK.com/MostBeautifulBMWRedhead BMW Exotic Bella

        YOUR POST IS A RIOT HERE.

        HOLA CHICA.

        ROFL.

        “a few states between her and wacky drake…

        i co-sign that.

        the tatt is um,er well pretty si.. pero…(But)

        i do find it odd i mean,sure i can see if your meeting the sweet pretty AALIYAH HAUGHTON,superstar on her way up at time of her very very sad death RIP,pero drake, YOUR not even knowing her,nor spoke to her,
        i get the fan worship pero um.come on.Aren’t Collage pix,enough hun.
        I love drake when he first came out with his first hit,then a few other songs
        pero the whole same ole lyrics irk mi last nerve.TAKE CARE was pretty good
        though.

        mi amigo Chino,say the same thing drake,that he “rap” the same things
        and it cause him to cease listening daily to him like over 15 months ago!
        lol

        And i do agree
        why in the hell wouldn’t any 1 BUT drake,do her album
        the song was great,well good i guess,pero i was hoping
        this year missy will,and dmx,contribute and or the great TIMBERLAND.

        and i doubt a classy chic,focus,etc sweet Aaliyah would have
        work with drake,due to she did not like as i recall a type of,well
        a “certain type”and the things we know DRAKE
        still tirelessly rap about,and or sing /rap about is well
        NOT AALIYAH thing, Jmho/IMO.

        DRAKE boring now,sick of him and lil in his 30s now
        wayne carter,just tired of the same ole lyrics…zzzZZzzz.

        adios!

        rip A.
        your 1 of a kind always was,from her sweet sexy voice
        always on key unlike um er, ALICIA KEYS zzzzz boring,.
        same ole…

        and Aaliyah was tomboyish then try to be more sexier
        but was already sexy and sweet so smooth cool the whole nine,
        she is awesome,was great and i miss her.
        .
        glad we have her wonderful well-done videos,and her songs.and BEHIND THE MUSIC on her.
        actually i am watching it for the 100th time right now
        so well done.

        adios todo “real music” Fans…as Aaliyah,her OWN Swag-so uniquely-sexy in her own right,but so much more than that.So natural,and always putting on great R &B songs,and can sing, I do not think RIHANNA can sing,but some of her songs again a few,great dance type water down pop songs are good.
        But aaliyah always putting out REAL MUSIC IMO,so i am grateful for that.
        and a pretty good actress,she would have still be very young early 30s now or i actually consider young as how your feeling,look etc.take care of urself,so she would have still be young,and just fine.still blowing up,and moreso i think acting though.Entreprenuer, just like beyonce mi girl es …Rip BEAUTIE,
        we miss you AALIYAH.

        adios.
        Most Beautiful BMW Redhead!facebook
        Dominicana Pink Diamondz Records CEO
        artist,songtress,”real” hip hop lyricist por vida.

    • YeahSo

      Heyll Yeah!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “Is it fair to say that Drake is really weird about this Aaliyah thing?”

      definitely

  • http://testorshia.blogspot.com Tes

    I heard the track and was unimpressed…until I found a version without Drake on it. Then I liked it. It still sounded unfinished (no surprise there) but the production sounded eerily like the darker tones Aaliyah’s music would take on, and it was well done, albeit lacking.

    As for “if she were alive now she’d be slaying it…” No. Aaliyah wasn’t a “slayer” exactly. Did she do dope things musically? Hells yeah. But was she a performer in the way that Beyonce or Michael Jackson are/were? Not by a long shot. I think, because she had so much potential to grow upon and so many different directions she could have gone at the time of her death people mistake or overestimate her potential as an actual accomplishment.

    And Aubrey…Aubrey needs to let it go. Let. It. Go. Aubrey.

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

      The thing is that she was still a performer- and frankly that was all she was. She didn’t write or produce any of her material and her singing was tolerable at best. In fact, I’d say that most of her career leaned on who she was working with as opposed to who she was.

      • https://twitter.com/#!/IluminatiNYC Todd

        Though in Aaliyah’s case, that isn’t a bad thing. Not too many singers know how to let a song breathe without the song consuming them or using it as an excuse to mutter barely off key. (T-Boz and sometimes Janet Jackson, this means you!) Aaliyah was cool in the original sense of the word. She had this distance that brought you into her. While that isn’t artistry, it is a very different (and very difficult) form of performance.

      • http://testorshia.blogspot.com Tes

        I can definitely agree with that. Her last album she worked with Static Major and it was a big change up for her because Tim was only on like one or two tracks. Before that, the big thing was her, Tim and Missy, and before that her and R.Kelly.

        She was a performer, don’t get me wrong, but with the caliber of performer she’d be up against in this new millennium, it’s tough to say if she’d make as much as an impact.

      • http://wildcougarconfessions.com Wild Cougar

        She was meh. Kinda pretty, kinda talented. But her face was like her talent, a blank canvas with enough vulnerability for men to project their fantasies on. Almost not there. Just how insecure men like em.

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          “Just how insecure men like em.”

          lol, oh gosh

        • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

          ouch.

        • https://twitter.com/#!/IluminatiNYC Todd

          Wow…just WOW. :(

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

          lol. damn.

        • Princess_jasmen

          +1

        • The Guy Formerly Know As Hmmmm

          Roccafella Yall!

        • apple

          nigga, please…

      • Britico Chick

        +1. Thank you

    • LW

      Aaliyah was so smooth. I haven’t seen a female singer with her type of swagger and charisma since. I was a huge Destiny’s Child/Beyonce fan but she doesn’t have that type of charisma. Aaliyah also had a huge impact on r&b/hip hop. Her musical and overall style was so appealing. She sang softly over hard hitting beats. She was just different, laid back and chill.

      Her music was timeless. When it plays on the radio, it still fits in. Her first album has that 90’s vibe but all of the Tim/Missy stuff is timeless.

      The thing about her, is that she had so much potential to be bigger than what she already was. She had a lot of movies lined up and just other things in the works. She was actually going to do “Sparkle.” That’s what’s so sad. Although she’d done so much at 22, she still could’ve done so much more.
      Her music got better with each album. I know her music would’ve only gotten better with age. She always had great material.

      As far as Drake. His fascination with her is a bit much. The tattoo is interesting, to say the least. I thought Aaliyah sounded great but Tim/Missy could’ve made that song magical. People don’t get that she was Tim’s muse. The 3 of them just created great stuff together.

  • http://voodoochile88.tumblr.com/ Craig and Dem

    If you ain’t Missy, Timbaland, or DMX or any ninja from that era please take a seat and leave that music alone

    • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

      +1,000,000,000,000,000

    • mena

      Yep. This is the problem. The people from that time (myself included) remember how SICK One in a Million was. The beats were ridiculous. I mean that was when Tim and Missy were on everybody’s tracks. Who can put a baby in a song and make it sound amazing??? And don’t get me started on how I almost threw out my back trying to do the dance from 4 page letter!!!! In other words, we are getting old and don’t want anyone from this new generation to screw up OUR music.

      It is also kind of creepy to start doing this album so long after her death. I mean, it’s been over a decade since she passed. But if anyone is going to do the album, it should be Tim and Missy. They helped to create the Aaliyah sound. No shade on Drake but why pick him?

      • SJ

        You hit the nail on the head, Mena.

      • socialchronic

        Maaaan i just realized im getting close to OG status when you said OUR music and it’s Aaliyah we talkin about. whoa i am officially 30.

        anyway while i think it’s kinda sweet that Drake is doing whatever the hell it is he’s doing, you kinda HAVE to include Timbo and Missy with anything concerning Aaliyah. Anything else would be uncivilized. Anything else isn’t Aaliyah.

        Aw man that whole camp is the soundtrack to my high school years. (sets adrift on memories bliss for a sec… then continues to iron shirt)

        • mena

          I’m 30 in 2 mths. I heard a MJB song on the flash back lunch hour and literally said “well d@mn. It’s official.”

      • Around the Way Girl

        Music evolves though. As sick as it is (and it is one of my absolute favorite songs), One in a Million wouldn’t go very far today. R&B doesn’t have the same reach that it once did. Missy, Timbaland, and DMX aren’t making the same music they made in the 90’s, and Aaliyah wouldn’t be either. Even with her last album, she was experimenting with other producers and new sounds. And sounding good. It’s not like she can ONLY be dope if Timbaland or Missy are involved. I will give you that she was at her best when she was with them, but who’s to say someone else couldn’t bring something even better out of her?

        • mena

          I see your point but they were apart of the last sounds of her career so they should be involved. Not to say that others couldn’t help on the project though. Watch the Behind the Music with Tim and then with Missy. Both, on separate biographies, talk about how much the three of them were a team.

        • AfroPetite

          Co-sign we see where Usher is heading with his “music” and I use that term loosely because I hate this garbage he’s spewing right about now.

          I believe Aaliyah would probably be doing A.) nothing musically related in 2012 or B.) Appealing to the masses with the current pop/techno craze

        • LW

          Tim may not have the hits that he used to, but think about the Timberlake album he did. That was hot and put Justin over the top. There have been other artists as well. And Missy has been behind the scenes writing and producing. She’s like 40, do people expect her to still be out here rapping all the time?

      • AmericanDream

        He picked himself

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        i agree that those things were great back then. But even Timbaland has been sucking as of late. And Missy hasn’t put out sh*t relevant since…hell I don’t even know.

        Assuming that Aaliyah would have mattered right now (and I honestly don’t think she would), I think working with Drake and 40 would be in her best interest to create a sound that lets her understated vocal stylings shine.

        I agree with whoever said it upthread, Aaliyah’s “greatness” was ultimately dependent on who she was working with and what they brought to the table.

        • Beautifullyhuman

          Missy’s on that J. Cole track on his album. I’m not sure if she produced it, but I know she’s featured. I think she’s battling some disease. That’s probably why we haven’t seen or heard much from her.

        • mena

          I just feel like they shouldn’t try to resurrect her career to begin with. Missy and Tim should be a part of the project though since they made her sound.

          Drake is fine either way. It just kinda creeps me out but I really do like Drake so we will see.

    • Breezy

      + 33 1/3

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “If you ain’t Missy, Timbaland, or DMX or any ninja from that era please take a seat and leave that music alone”

      does this include all music from all eras or just aaliyah’s music from 2000?

  • http://www.iamyourpeople.com I Am Your People

    #1 – I CANNOT with people saying ‘they would know what that person would have wanted.’ In many cases, people release music that the deceased never wanted to see the light of day.
    Random: this is about living folks, but it’s how I learned how the music industry can screw people over. Vibe Magazine reviewed an album (don’t remember the artist – this was late ’90s or so) and called it pure trash. In next month’s Vibe, one of the members of the group wrote back agreeing it was terrible but they were no longer on that label, and those were songs that didn’t make the cut for an old album. So now they look bad, when it was music they never wanted released.

    #2 – Artists fall off, and artists change. That was the complaint about Hologram Tupac – would he be still doing that if he was alive? Heavy D reinvented himself as an actor and reggae singer, and had no intention of returning to rap

    • Latonya

      What you said about tupac is right I just can’t see him doning the same thing when he was alive. If he was still alive I can see him being more on a Jay -z business type level.

      • Loving Me

        I see Pac (if he’d lived) go the Mark Wahlberg, Will Smith route with full on acting period. By the time he’d died he already started gravitating towards more serious roles and the man could act. Hell, his whole life was one big act in one way or another. More Mark than Will though, cause once Mark Wahlberg left music, he left music completely whereas Will Smith continues to try and drop at least one track on most of his soundtracks smh. He definitely wouldn’t have been doing the same things though

        • Latonya

          Tupac was good in Juice! I really enjoyed that movie !

        • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

          “Hell, his whole life was one big act in one way or another.”

          Now if I would have said this about Tupac (which I have on numerous occasions), the goons (AKA the Pac stans) would be out in full force, LMAO!

          • Loving Me

            Lol I’m surprised they didn’t come after me (but it’s true though)

          • demondog06

            i’m a pac stan…but i acknowledge the fact that he basically tried to become bishop.
            this nugga was an activist and a thinker who tried to become a goon and it got him killed!

            • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

              I blame Death Row…

        • LW

          Pac always said that he never wanted to be a 30 year old rapper. That’s why it’s strange to me to hear 40+ year old Jay-Z trying to make music for teens and 20 somethings. ITA that he would’ve continued to act(he was a trained actor) and been a business man.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

        “If he was still alive I can see him being more on a Jay -z business type level.”

        i see more of an allen iverson, still making in rain in the club although he may be near bankrupt, level. People that volatile don’t continue to accumulate wealth

        • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

          Pac was already blowing thru his money, thats why he started going at Suge for more royalties and well….ish happened.

    • Loving Me

      + infinity

    • https://twitter.com/#!/IluminatiNYC Todd

      Thank you for mentioning Heavy D. He’s example #1 I thought of when I thought of this article. If Heavy D passed in 1994 as opposed to last year, people would have remembered him differently. It’s not that he did some complete BS after he fell off. If anything, he had a decent post-rap career. The thing is that it is…post-rap. People don’t realize how people’s life tracks can change over time, sometimes radically.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      ‘Pac was not built to live that long anyway. Can anybody actually see ‘Pac still being alive? I can’t.

      • socialchronic

        me either. if by some chance he would have stayed alive i can see him raising hell for about 7 years then parlaying into full fledged actor mode. I could see him on a cop show or something a la Ice T. Or the wire. Can you imagine???

      • Beautifullyhuman

        Nope. He was built for an early demise and he knew it. “Shed So Many Tears” was hauntingly beautiful and ominous. He prophesied his own death throughout his music.

        Pac was aware of his mortality.

      • Medium Meech

        I saw him last week.

        • socialchronic

          lmao @seeing him last week. Yeah shed so many tears was creepy and that Makevelli coming out after he died was almost too much on the irony scale.

          • Breezy

            Meechie…please you killing me today. LMBO

      • Rewind

        If he did, he would have gone the DMX route…be hot for a good couple of years and then go off the hinges Lindsay Lohan style.

  • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

    I don’t get the Aaliyah loyalty at all. She had 3 pretty good albums and as a singer/entertainer she hasn’t exactly been irreplaceable. She wasn’t a once in a generation talent. I mean she was a once in a generation cash cow, but that probably had equal measure with VA producers blowing up in the late 90s.

    • Manny

      I feel like she would’ve gone the way of Mya…Dancing With the Stars. even though she was good. I don’t know if she had staying power.

    • mena

      I agree with this. It was the right mixture at the right time.

    • SJ

      Not to mention there was not much competition for her back then. Right now she would have to compete with Rihanna and Lady Gaga as well as Beyonce (who even had to go Gaga at one point) and Katy Perry. Seriously, I can’t see Aaliyah transforming herself doing the pop art/comic gimmick that is popular with the female artists of today. (Doesn’t mean she wouldn’t. I just can’t imagine it.)

      • AmericanDream

        Do you think those artists could have been that successful if she were still alive?? We could flip both ways ya know!

    • Around the Way Girl

      Remember, we love the total package. Aaliyah was naturally beautiful, confident, laid-back and approachable, and a mesmerizing dancer. All her songs may not have been amazing, but not one of them was wack. She took risks, and at her best she sounded incredible. And you never got the sense that she was projecting an image; everything about her seemed organic. Who else can we say all that about? No one.

      It does drive me a little crazy when people say other artists wouldn’t be as successful if she was around though. Especially Beyonce, who was surpassing her even while they co-existed. She had her lane that she owned, but there are multiple lanes.

      • https://twitter.com/#!/IluminatiNYC Todd

        Word. And remember, Beyonce is younger than Aaliyah, but had everyone believing she was like 10 years older. No, no, no Part 1 is NOT the sound of a teenager, but that was Ms. Knowles on the track.

        • Around the Way Girl

          Yeah don’t get me started cuz I can talk about Beyonce’s greatness all day lol.

          • http://www.styleillusions.com WIP

            Singing is what that girl was born to do.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “I don’t get the Aaliyah loyalty at all. She had 3 pretty good albums and as a singer/entertainer she hasn’t exactly been irreplaceable. She wasn’t a once in a generation talent. I mean she was a once in a generation cash cow, but that probably had equal measure with VA producers blowing up in the late 90s.”

      i understand it. even while she was alive, she had this mystical aura to her. but, objectively speaking, the biggest star on her albums was timbaland, not her.

      • AmericanDream

        Hey ! Not so fast, one could argue that they complimented each other,she was his muse,he needed her to bring out the production beast in him,she needed him to bring the dark,edgy,emo and mystical side in her.They had what was arguably the best r’n’b singer and producer chemistry that could possibly exist.

        • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

          “They had what was arguably the best r’n’b singer and producer chemistry that could possibly exist.”

          Gamble & Huff/The O’Jays and Jam & Lewis/Alexander O’Neal would like to have a word with you…

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

            right. lol. that’s such a stretch that even Spandex is tapping out on that comment.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      yeah. you’re right. 100 percent right.

    • Rewind

      She was a part of the era of anyone growing up in the 90s, and she was definitely a Black woman that White America was keeping their eye on before she died. I get a lot of people don’t really care much for her career, because it wasn’t stellar. But she definitely was on the rise to be something more, and since she was so young and she died through a non-violent means, it hit a lot of young people hard. I think her death was the first time I realized how being young does not exclude you from death, despite living through personal experiences as well as Easy E, Big, Pac, Big L, Freaky Tah, & Big Pun’s death (however, their deaths were circumvented through their lifestyles, ergo I never felt sorry for them, whereas a plane crash means you’re fawked no matter who you are).

  • Cleanupman

    Well, Biggie and Pac fell off before they died; no speculation necessary there. I actually think Aaliyah was developing into an ok artist, though. She wasn’t a good singer, but she definitely had charisma and an amazing team of songwriters & producers behind her. If not for her death, I’m sure she would’ve seen success through the present.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      you think biggie and pac had already started to fall off?

      • BKSweetheart

        BLASPHEMY!

        Well in the case of Biggie… cant really speak about Pac, wasn’t really a fan back then.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      how exactly did Biggie fall off before he died? Or ‘Pac. I’ve got to hear this.

    • Rewind

      Explain BIG falling off when his second album had all aspects of his rap career mature.

    • LW

      Wow, you really typed that out! Guess “All Eyez On Me”(released before his death) and “Makaveli”(the last album he completed) weren’t good enough huh?

      Pac is my #1 but didn’t Biggie only have one album out at the time of his death? So how had he fallen off?

  • http://voodoochile88.tumblr.com/ Craig and Dem

    IF Aaliyah was alive today, she could have taken over the huge spotlight left by Beyonce when she had her pregnancy.

    Yo Where is P. Alchemist when I need him!?!

    • Latonya

      I doubt that, Aaliyah can’t come close to Beyonce and her stage performance.

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

        Stage performance? You mean her burlesque show?

        • http://voodoochile88.tumblr.com/ Craig and Dem

          Val got them jokes on point today!

        • https://twitter.com/#!/IluminatiNYC Todd

          You say burlesque like it’s a bad thing. :)

          • http://testorshia.blogspot.com Tes

            The audience is not her gynecological team; there’s no need to see that much vulva in every. Damn. Show.

            • https://twitter.com/#!/IluminatiNYC Todd

              C’mon Tes. If it was a dude packing “heat”, you’d love to be his urologist. :)

              • http://testorshia.blogspot.com Tes

                Sir, I’m spoken for. The only person I want to be playin doctor with is my dude. I’d seriously cover my eyes >.< lol

                • Breezy

                  Tes am with you and Val. I am so over her and those adult onesies by Gerber she have on all the time.

            • http://voodoochile88.tumblr.com/ Craig and Dem

              Tes fa real tho!?! Like what’s up with homegirl rockin a Leotard every time she on stage!?! Can someone put some shorts or some pants of that broad?

              • http://www.styleillusions.com WIP

                Maybe she’s trying to stay cool…

                • http://testorshia.blogspot.com Tes

                  She has a giant fan following her around blowing her hair during every set. Stayin cool my ass…

                • http://twitter.com/think2inspire Think2Inspire

                  Lol and yuck! It can’t be good for the vajj to be packaged like a tuna sandwich from the lunch line all the time.

              • http://testorshia.blogspot.com Tes

                I haven’t seen Beyonce in pants since 2004.

                • Britico Chick

                  LMAO. wasn’t she in trousers when she announced her pregnancy at the awards show? :-)

        • AmericanDream

          Lmfao what exactly has Beyonce done on stage that the Janet Jackson and Madonna of this world have never done????

          • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

            Uh…she managed not to pull a titty out in the middle of a live performance, LOL!

            • AmericanDream

              She doesnt have to, her coochie has been in our faces since her DC days

      • http://voodoochile88.tumblr.com/ Craig and Dem

        I’ve seen some of her concerts. She don’t be gettin it on her own songs, Just a whole bunch of her singing Destiny Child music! Child get the group back together and save face

    • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

      If Aaliyah was alive today Beyonce and Rhianna would be begging to open shows for her.

      If Aaliyah was alive today she’d be the movie star that Beyonce dreams about being.

      If Aaliyah was alive today we’d still have some decent R&B to listen to.

      • http://voodoochile88.tumblr.com/ Craig and Dem

        My name is Craig and Dem and I approve this message by Val

      • That Ugly Kid

        Considering Beyonce and Destiny’s Child were already blowing up charts and were already a tier above Aaliyah, I doubt this. I can agree with the acting thing though. I can see her slowing down on the music and pursuing a serious acting career. But as for being better than Beyonce…..waaay too late for April Fools jokes. Sorry, you gotta wait til next year. And this is coming from a guy who has this as his desktop background for about 3 months now:

        http://www.wallpaperpimper.com/wallpaper/Music/Aaliyah/Aaliyah-1-I9ZWX0ZFC9-1024×768.jpg

      • Beautifullyhuman

        “If Aaliyah was alive today Beyonce and Rhianna would be begging to open shows for her.”

        Maybe Rhianna, but probably not B. Even though I’m ambivalent towards Beyonce’s music…I can’t front on her stage presence. She’s solidified herself in the game as a solo artist and as a member of DC. She definitely earns the praise she receives from her performances. I’ve seen her several times in concert (I never paid intentionally see her; she’s always on the bill) and she’ll definitely keep you entertained. I give her that. Homegirl ain’t no fluke.

        But, like you, I have wondered about what impact Aaliyah would have had on R&B if not for her untimely death.

        • hehe

          I don’t even think Rihanna. When Rihanna came out she was doing the whole island R&B thing which is different than the music Aaliyah did. Then Rihanna went on to do more dance/pop so idk if she would’ve taken Rihanna’s spotlight seeing that Aaliyah was into a different sub-genre of music.

        • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

          But what you and TUK fail to realize is that Aaliyah’s death left a huge void in the R&B world. If Aaliyah was around in the early 2000’s it would have been much harder for Beyonce and Rihanna to get to where they are today. and considering where Aaliyah’s music would have gone and considering her blossoming film career, she would have been huge by now.

          And her realness would have shone the spotlight on Bey’s fake-ness.

          • That Ugly Kid

            “and considering where Aaliyah’s music would have gone”

            Oh Val, that’s the point of Champ’s entire post. NOBODY knows what Aaliyah would’ve done musically at this point. Or how her music would’ve turned out. People need to stop saying “if he/she were alive, this would happen…” and yada yada as if they know, for a fact, what that artist would’ve done.

            But I acknowledge your stan, Val lol. It’s refreshing to see you this passionate about someone. Aren’t you an avid fan of Alicia Keys as well?

            • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

              No, I’m not a stan for Aaliyah, just a true fan. I stan only for Alicia. :-)

          • BeautifullyHuman

            “If Aaliyah was around in the early 2000′s it would have been much harder for Beyonce and Rihanna to get to where they are today.”

            While I do agree that Aaliyah’s career was blossoming and heading in a more mainstream direction, I don’t think it would have had any significant impact on Beyonce’s place in R&B. Prior to Aaliyah’s death, Destiny’s Child had several #1 hits, tons of accolades, and successful albums with “Writing on the Wall” and “Survivor.” Truthfully, Beyonce was carving her lane before Aaliyah left this earth; Aaliyah needed to catch up with her. In fact, prior to her death, Aaliyah never had a #1 Album. Her first chart topper was “Aaliyah,” and that only made it to #1 in the wake of her passing — a direct result of sympathy sales.

            • LW

              “Survivor” and “Aaliyah” both came out and 2001 and Aaliyah’s album was far better. If you went through the albums, it would be extremely obvious. I’m not listening to “Survivor” today. I always listening to “Aaliyah.” Lyrically, they’re not even in the same league. The group break-up enhanced everything about that record. The single “Survivor” and the controversy sold that record. I can now admit that. I was in DC 101 back then and I wouldn’t have. DC’s best record was “The Writing’s On The Wall.”

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

        “If Aaliyah was alive today Beyonce and Rhianna would be begging to open shows for her.”

        Hilarious, but probably true…

        “If Aaliyah was alive today she’d be the movie star that Beyonce dreams about being.”

        Aaliyah was just as bad as an actress as Beyonce is. You have seen “Romeo Must Die” or “Queen Of The Damned”, haven’t you?

        “If Aaliyah was alive today we’d still have some decent R&B to listen to.”

        Uh…no. Try again please. There’s a lot of decent to great R&B out there within the last ten years, but you probably wouldn’t even listen to it.

        • Around the Way Girl

          Hey. I thought she was pretty bad @ss in Queen of the Damned.

          • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

            But…but…but…she was barely in the movie- she pulled an Anthony Hopkins in that sh*t, LMAO!

            • Around the Way Girl

              Lol well she rocked her 5 minutes! And I liked that crazy accent she used.

        • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

          No one is as bad an actress as Beyonce, PA.

          • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

            Not even Common? LMAO!!

        • Star

          Wow!!! The era you all are making is putting Aaliyah in the same category…she stood alone as an artist all by her self..Aaliyah music, style, and aura was different from any r&b singer I have ever seen. She had a little dark air about her self like a dark angel…but at the same time she was very sweet…I know because I met her and talk to her twice…I am from where Tim and Missys from. He was having a bdy party but the night before she was at this club called picasos…and we had a conversation. She was very pretty and extremley tiny in person. She looks small on tv because she was really small in person…I just kept sayin to myself OMG look how tiny she is. she was xxxs.she was about 5’5 im 5’7 she wasnt as tall as me.We actually took a picture but I never went back to the photagrapher to pick the pics up…some people didn’t get some of her music. When Resolution came out people were like what is that…Aaliyah would have been a huge star..oh and she really could sing very well heard her in person. she would have evolved and competed against nobody but herself…she can’t act???!!! I’m laughin…no bey can’t act…Queen of the damned she took on a whole diffrent character and owned it..she would have been bigger than jlo..stop being an Aaliyah hater…Aaliyah wouldn’t want to be like beyounce anyway, she had her own swag nobody could touch…but bey has tried everybodys swag..don’t get me wrong I like bey…but Aaliyah stands alone in her own catagory that non of them can touch..I think her and drake would have gotten married and had children….why is it fans can be obsessed with her but Drake can’t.

      • https://twitter.com/#!/IluminatiNYC Todd

        The second one, yes, but I’m not sure about the other two. I got the impression that music was her come-up for the entertainment industry, and then she’d try some other stuff. I’m not a psychic, but it’s not a guarantee she’d still put out records if she were alive.

        • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

          Toni Braxton did the same thing- and we all saw what happened with that…

      • https://twitter.com/#!/mackaroto Jay

        You are doing EXACTLY what Champ was talking about in the original post. I’m over 30 so I LOVE Aaliyah, Timbo, Missy… the whole Devante Swing camp but honestly Aaliyah was already starting to fall off a little… a little.

      • BKSweetheart

        HAAAYYYLLLLLLLE NAW!!!!!!!!!! U crazy??? Sorry this comment is worthy of a _/ Please feel free to full utilize. Thank you

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        I just don’t believe any of this. None of this is true.

      • Britico Chick

        My dear, you are wholly exaggerating the impact that Aaliyah would have today. x a million.

    • hehe

      No. Aaliyah was good but no. Beyonce would still be on top.

    • Aaron

      Ahem.

      I think there’s a pretty surefire way to see what would’ve happened with Aaliyah.

      Look at what happened to Ciara.

      There ya go.

      • Manny

        Ha, so true

      • Breezy

        Blasphemy! Ciara and Aaliyah are not (were not) in the same category. No comparison in my opinion.

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          “Blasphemy! Ciara and Aaliyah are not (were not) in the same category. No comparison in my opinion.”

          it’s definitely a valid comparison.

          • Breezy

            Valid comparison deez.

      • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

        Ciara had a nice little run but Aaliyah could actually sing. Ciara was strictly a music video artist.

        • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

          Aaliyah wasn’t that great of a singer either, Tristan. Seen any of her live performances?

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao7Xs1eyimM

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_DsrmuDX2U

          • https://twitter.com/#!/IluminatiNYC Todd

            PA, that’s a bit unfair. The band SUCKS, and the song you put up isn’t one designed to showcase anyone’s voice. A great singer would either sound very regular or end up sounding like Talent Show R&B a la Jodeci and Dru Hill at their prime with that song.

            • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

              Can’t blame the band, Todd. As a former musician, I thought they were in the pocket. The trouble was in her vocals. She had it in the studio, but couldn’t do the same on stage.

          • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

            Too-shay.

          • BeautifullyHuman

            I agree PA. Aaliyah was cool, but she wasn’t no vocalist. She wasn’t out-singing no one.

            • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

              She got murked on her own track- by an unknown, of all people! (See: Tavarius Polk on “Never Givin’ Up”).

        • Hehe

          Ciara actually sound a whole lot similar to Aaliyah. Also quite honestly Ciara was a better and stronger dancer than Aaliyah.

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

      “Yo Where is P. Alchemist when I need him!?!”

      I am here in the flesh like Pete Rock & CL (“Main Ingredient” reference).

      If Aaliyah was alive today…she would be…old…

      • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

        She’d be 32…not exactly the hang it up…flatscreen age.

        • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

          To be fair, Monica and Brandy are around that same age, and…well…you’ve heard their recent stuff, haven’t you? *snickers*

          • http://voodoochile88.tumblr.com/ Craig and Dem

            Monica livin off her Shannon Brown and Brandy still sittin fat off that Moesha money. Whatever music they put is irrelevant. Aaliyah could have fallen off but I at least think she could have been the hook girl on a million bangs if she didn’t wanna be in the singing biz no mo. That movie think could have worked out for her real talk tho. She easy on the eyes and with a couple more films she could have improved. Ish look at Common! My dude got better with each film he was in

            • BeautifullyHuman

              Hey…I think Brandy still has one more good album in the tank. She gave me hope with Afrodisiac. She just needs better musical direction and more confidence. All her albums up until Afrodisiac were good. The one after was horrendous.

              Monica is alright, too. The album before the latest release did pretty well by R&B standards. Granted, she’s not doing Bee numbers, but most people aren’t in this musical climate. The song selection could be better for both, though.

              • bhillboy

                I guess y’all don’t listen to the radio because Brandi got a song on there now that they play to death and I can’t even front- I think it’s hot too.

                • BeautifullyHuman

                  I try not to listen to the radio, but I know she has a song with C. Breezy. I like Brandy. I plan to purchase her new album in two weeks. I just hope it’s not a repeat of that last release with no memorable songs.

            • Britico Chick

              u really want me to wet myself laughing. Common cannot act his way out of a toilet.

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

            Brandy is an artist I ALWAYS felt never got her just due. She made great albums. Full Moon is such a great album.

            • b sweet

              She was America’s Sweetheart!! Brandy was definitely recognized for her music, especially early on.
              Brandy admits in her Behind the Music that the whole fake marriage scandal ruined her career. And I would agree. She never bounced back from that unnecessary lie.

              • Beautifullyhuman

                Add in that car crash, too, even though she was absolved of all culpability. People to this very day STILL make off colored jokes about that accident when Brandy wasn’t even at fault. She just caught the brunt of it because she was famous and it made for a more exciting story. And them $$$ didn’t help either.

            • AmericanDream

              Word …full moon was dope!

              • BeautifullyHuman

                And “Never Say Never.”

                • Breezy

                  BH…that album is in my CD player as we speak…”Angel in Disguise” and “You Don’t Know Me” beats are SICK!!!!!!!

                  • BeautifullyHuman

                    “Put That On Everything” is in my iphone! Knocks.

            • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

              …And “Never Say Never” has to be in the top three of late 90’s R&B albums!

    • Rewind

      She would have had the spotlight WAY before Beyonce came into the picture, hence I believe had she never had died, Beyonce would have never blown the way she did. Can’t deny she would have still been who she is, but I think she wouldn’t have had the spotlight all to herself.

      • hehe

        Negative. People already knew who Beyonce was. She was the main star of Destiny’s Child. DC was a mega group the time Aaliyah died. Beyonce was more talented than Aaliyah.

        • Mark

          Beyonce was not a star yet. Look back on Missy’s Album Da Real World…the song Crazy Feelings feat Beyonce Knowles of Destiny’s Child. For years Beyonce was trying to go solo, no one knew her by her name until 2003. Beyonce was going to be a star regardless of Aaliyah’s career, her dad would make sure of that. Lets remember Ms. Houston picked Aaliyah to star in Sparkle, not Beyonce. And Aaliyah was the headlining name for the Dreamgirls project. Aaliyah’s albums never sold as well as others, she just made great music, i felt that she really got her shine when on album soundtracks. The movie Honey was for Aaliyah, later given to Jessica Alba. Aaliyah would have been dope in that movie, singing and dancing her ass off. So lets stop comparing the Beyonce of today with Aaliyah from 2001. Beyonce would still be knocking out #1 hits. But Aaliyah would have had more of a International Star Status. Would you rather have a number one album, or be making 10-15 million per movie. Aaliyah knew what she was doing, using her music as a platform…she was a smart girl…had the looks, charisma, sex appeal, and chops to get there.

  • That Ugly Kid

    Drake has only one tattoo of Aaliyah. And that’s the face. The other “one” is a 416 (Toronto’s area code) in which it’s clearly evident that the 4 is currently being filled in. The picture was taken at that point in time to represent Aailyah’s birthday, yes. And maybe to hype the song. But the finished product, the full 416, has nothing to do with Aaliyah.

    Other than that, I like the track. Though I do agree that Timbaland and Missy should be involved because they were a crucial part to Aaliyah’s sound. I do disagree that Drake needed to know Aaliyah personally to be involved in her project. You don’t have to know someone personally to have been inspired by them. He’s doing this as a fan of her music. But, of course people will hate it regardless. Because it’s Drake. And Drake is the Lebron of Hip-Hop. No matter how talented the dude is people hate him just because it’s popular to do so.

    • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

      Drake is not the Lebron of hip hop. Lebron is the most talented player in the NBA at the moment and has been for several years. Drake isn’t even the most talented rapper on his label.

      • Loving Me

        Real question: Outside of Wayne, who on Young Money/Cash Money is more talented than Drake? Cause Wayne can rap I’ll give him that, but he doesn’t write, produce or anything else. Drake writes his own lyrics, writes Wayne’s lyrics, writes other folks lyrics, performs his lyrics, can’t dance to save him life but also produces or has a strong hand in the production of his music/albums. He may not be for everybody, but he is the most talented one that label has unless they’re hiding someone better in Baby’s basement

      • That Ugly Kid

        Wrong. Twice.

        1. Kobe’s the best player in basketball.

        2. Drake’s became the best on his label about a year or so after he was signed. Because that’s around when Lil Wayne began his decline. Who’s better than him?

        • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

          Hell, Juvenile is better than Drake with his pathetic Autotuned voice and his sad azzed emo lyrics.

          • That Ugly Kid

            1. Juvenile is not even with the label anymore.

            2. Drake’s “emo lyrics” are still better than anyone else’s who’s not named Eminem, Nas, Andre 3000, Childish Gambino, and Kendrick Lamar. Though I can tell from your comment you’ve never really heard many Drake songs as he has FAR more upbeat songs and verses than “emo” ones. Your bias is shooowiiiing.

            • mena

              I like Drake but I’m a girl so my opinion doesn’t count.

              He is obviously trying to take on other projects to expand his talent and actually grow as a business man. I appreciate that. But again, I just can’t see him doing anything with Aaliyah’s album. Maybe I just want 90s R&B back and only want Tim and Missy on the project. Actually, it needs to be left alone. It’s been too long to try and do something now.

              • That Ugly Kid

                “I like Drake but I’m a girl so my opinion doesn’t count.”

                Lol, I know right. Only women and guys like me dig Drake apparently. While other people continue to oversimplify his catalogue as “emo” because his songs don’t usually have the loud “boom-bap” sound of typical hip-hop records. So they don’t really pay attention to what he’s saying. Like, REALLY pay attention. They hear the beat and immediately write it off as “whining, crying, emo, etc” while downplaying his abilities as a song writer.

                It’s not like his album (Take Care) reached general acclaim (it did), or he wrote for other talented artists (he did), or that his songwriting is so lauded that friggin’ COUNTRY MUSICIANS want to collab with him (they do). Yet, Drake still has no talent? Hmmm, odd.

                And see, as big a fan of Drake as I am, I have to admit that an Aaliyah album wouldn’t have the right sound without Missy and Tim.

                • BeautifullyHuman

                  I like Drake as well. But sorry TUK, he does come across as a weenie, at least by rap standards. He’s always harping on his exes and strippers (and Rhianna’s a**). I’m sure 9 out of 10 VSSs here can break Drizzy’s heart and get an honorable mention on a song. Lol. After awhile, it’s like ninja shut the eff up already.

                  But, he’s lyrically talented and a good songwriter. People just undermine this because they can’t get past his panty pandering, and his “vulnerabilities.” Perhaps, too, because he’s from a different country and doesn’t claim to have grown up in the hood. Anyway, I still like dude for his talents.

                  • That Ugly Kid

                    “He’s always harping on his exes and strippers (and Rhianna’s a**).”

                    That’s the thing. He’s not though. He has WAY more songs/verses where he does the typical “I f*cked yo girl/I f*cked all these groupies then showed them the door” rap thing. But people only focus on his ode to women/strippers/etc because as I said elsewhere, people just want another reason to clown the dude.

                    • BeautifullyHuman

                      He does have more verses where he talks about other things, but the fact that he often references those things I mentioned above is superfluous for most listeners. Nobody wants to hear a dude writing an ode to every chick who gave him some play, or didn’t requite his love. Or who wears Bill Cosby sweaters.

                      Don’t get me wrong, I like Drake, but he strikes me as the type of dude who you’d have to catch the fade for…lol. Sorry.

                • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

                  at this point, I’d rather hear what 40 would do than Timbaland and Missy. They have fallen off. Period. At least 40 creates heatrocks.

              • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

                “Maybe I just want 90s R&B back ”

                I don’t- most of it was forgettable and poorly written and produced.

                • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

                  90s r&b snaps on most of th crap out now but lets not stunt like it has anything on 70s soul and r&b

                  • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

                    If anyone says that 90’s R&b is remotely better than 70’s R&B, they should get a swift karate chop to the throat, LMAO!

                    I mean, I like Tony! Toni! Tone!, Mint Condition and Intro. But there ain’t no way in hell they are seeing Cameo, George Duke, Heatwave, Switch, Minnie Riperton- none of that!

                • https://twitter.com/#!/IluminatiNYC Todd

                  Don’t. Remind. Me.

                  When you look at the median R&B song on the radio from 1981 to 1997, two things stick out. One, it’s clear that it took about a generation for people to figure out how to use electronic production tools properly, because the music before 1981 and after 1997 sounds much better. Two, it seemed like there were a lot of mailed in songs designed to fit a video, instead of doing a video to fit a song.

                  • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1 Perverted Alchemist

                    Exactly! Also, you have to factor within that same time period, the arrival of music video networks. That was the time when talent and creativity took a complete backseat to image, gimmicks and looks. So yeah, The Buggles did have it right- video did kill the radio star.

                • mena

                  Meh. It’s all about personal tastes. I don’t care for 80s R&B at all. I think the music is overly synthesized and just sounds horrible. However, there are people who stan for 80s music.

                  I prefer 60s, early 70s, and 90s. After that, I am not really into anything in particular.

                  • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

                    I purposely didn’t acknowledge 80s R&B….i think smoke machines and keyboards, its kinda what this new era is turning into,singers arent singing anymore they letting the producers do all the work.

                  • BeautifullyHuman

                    I’m with you on this preference. I’m not into 80s R&B really either. Don’t get me wrong, there are some songs that knock, but they can have Keith Sweat, Troop, New Edition and the likes. I do mess with Debarge, though.

                    • mena

                      Yeah. The music was just too…happy and boppy and whiny and just wrong. There were a few gems but other than those, i just can’t. The late late 70s is like this too.

                      Why for come did i go and see Tank, Babyface, Patti, and Maze ft. Frankie Beverly in concert here in the DMV a few weeks ago. When Frankie came on, not kidding you, I asked my friend “Which one is Maze? And who is Frankie?” I received the hardest side eye EVER!!

        • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

          Kobe hasn’t been the best player in basketball in like 5 years. He’s the most ACCOMPLISHED player currently in the league, but he ain’t the best. No one is picking Kobe first right now on his/her team for this upcoming season.

          Cory Gunz >>>>> Drake

          • http://voodoochile88.tumblr.com/ Craig and Dem

            Malik don’t you talk about The Lord of The Rings like that! Kobe would run circles round anybody in the league right now and I put that ish of Crip!

            • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

              Bruh, you realize Kobe is going into next season being 34 years old and 17 years years in the league? There a “1” in front of that second “2” in 2012 man.

              • http://voodoochile88.tumblr.com/ Craig and Dem

                Yes Malik I do realize this but I gots to put on for my bro-ham Kobe-san! Everybody I know hates the Lakers with a passion and I’m the only fan who still believe Kobe gots it. But I know Kobe-san is gettin old man! But bet that ninja still drop 40 points!?!

          • That Ugly Kid

            5 Years? Lol, Kobe is older than a few people, and THAT’S the reason why he’s the greatest. To be as old as he is and STILL be able to play on the same level as Lebron, Wade, Rose, etc shows just how much SKILL he has. Everybody else skates by on their youth and athleticism, Kobe, knowing his age and deteriorated athleticism, worked on things like his footwork and agility. Which allows him to get to the basket JUST as easily as anyone else in the league, albeit in a different manner.

            Seriously, there’s no excuse why Kobe, despite being slower and weaker, is a WAY better post player than Lebron, who’s 6’8″ and 260lbs.

            And Cory Gunz?! Bahaha. Dude is a poor man’s Busta Rhymes. He can rap fast but usually raps off beat and seems to struggle with his use of clever literary devices. I

            • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

              You know nothing about either Cory Gunz or Busta Rhymes to pull that comparison. And Kobe isn’t playing at the level of Lebron or Durant. There isn’t human being alive who would take Kobe in the top 5 today that isn’t a Lakers worshiper.

              • That Ugly Kid

                I know a bunch about Busta Rhymes and Cory. And the only thing Cory Gunz can do is rap fast (like Busta) and off beat. Other than that Busta outclasses him in every category. He has yet to release a album or even a mixtape to the caliber of Drake’s catalogue. He’s wildly inconsistent as well, I could go on, but you get my drift.

                And I can tell you don’t watch sports, because EVERYONE, coaches, commentators, analysts, still has Kobe in their Top 5. With most even choosing to have Kobe take the game winner/have the ball in the last 2 minutes of the fourth. Seriously, people say this all.the.time.

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

            “Kobe hasn’t been the best player in basketball in like 5 years. He’s the most ACCOMPLISHED player currently in the league, but he ain’t the best. No one is picking Kobe first right now on his/her team for this upcoming season.”

            thanks for typing this so i didn’t have to

        • https://twitter.com/#!/mackaroto Jay

          I agree, Drake is the most talented artist on YMCMB but I, the biggest Kobe Stan since the 96-97 draft, who has suffered through endless ridicule for being such, will say that at this point Lebron James is better than Kobe. But Kobe is about to be 34. No one beats father time. Kobe would still ether 99.2% of all basketball players on the planet but Lebron has the edge at this point. Have you been watching Team U.S.A. basketball. Kobe is almost a non-factor.

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

            “Have you been watching Team U.S.A. basketball. Kobe is almost a non-factor.”

            non-factor is too kind. they’re actually been worse with him out there. he doesn’t guard anybody and he doesn’t make any shots. (and, although I’m not a huge kobe fan, i do recognize that he is one of the top 10-15 players of all time. but, at this moment, he’s not one of the top 10-15 players in the league)

            • That Ugly Kid

              Really, not one of the top 10-15? So I guess he didn’t finish second behind Durant in terms of leading the league in scoring? By literally 0.1 points? Okay, I see today is exaggeration day. People just can’t give the man the credit he deserves. He’s still playing at Durant/Lebron’s level DESPITE his handicaps. That’s talent right there. Pure, talent.

              • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

                Thing is, although it seems like hyperbole, saying Kobe wasn’t one of the 10 best players in the league last year is an arguable fact. Of course you’re going to come close to leading the league in scoring if you take 23 shots a game. (No one else in the league even took 20 a game)

                Off the top of my head, I can name eight guys who had better and more efficient seasons than Kobe last year.

                (Lebron, Chris Paul, Durant, Dwight Howard, D. Wade, Kevin Love, Westbrook, Rose, and Bynum)

                When you add this to the fact that he basically shot the Lakers out of the playoffs and seems to be maybe the 6th or 7th best player on the current olympic team, the argument holds weight.

                Again, Kobe was great, has had a great career, and he’s one of the best 34 year old basketball players ever. But, he is no longer at the “best player in the league” level. Those days are over, man.

                • That Ugly Kid

                  Kobe took as many shots as he did because of Pau’ and Bynum’s inconsistent play. Especially in the playoffs. Kobe is still the best. And perfomances in the Olympics aren’t really a fair gauge considering players don’t play their normal NBA-esque 35-40 minutes. Meaning if they’re cold, it’ll most likely reflect on their stats because they won’t be in the game long enough to get themselves going.

          • WayUPThere

            I’m surprised that no one has said that Durant’s better yet, but meh. All of you have already said what I was going to say, so absolutely no need to rant on how Kobe is DEFINITELY NOT THE BEST PLAYER IN THE NBA AND BY EXTENSION THE WORLD right now.

            That being said, the Drake-LeBron comparison falls flat. He aint the best in hip hop, and TUK, you admitted that. Hell, you put about 3 or 4 people in front of Drake, and even the most ardent Lebron haters would say that he’s at the very worst top three in the league.

            And Kobe’s post game better than LeBron’s? Maybe a year or two ago, but was I the only one watching this past June, who saw Lebron score a good percentage of his points in the paint against the Thunder and read Hakeem Olajuwon commending Lebron for his use of skilled post moves?…

            • That Ugly Kid

              “That being said, the Drake-LeBron comparison falls flat.”

              Not really. The comparison was used to illustrate that no matter how talented they are, they continue to receive hate for no other reason than the fact that they’re them, and clowning them is what’s “in” right now. The comparison was made not to highlight the skill of the two, but the perception of them regardless of the skill.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        yeah. Drake is definitely the most talented cat on his label. #cmonson

        • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

          #NewYorkBias Cory Gunz is better.

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

            that’s not #NewYorkBias that’s #NewYorkDelusion

    • Beautifullyhuman

      If the Aaliyah tribute album hoopla is true, I think Drake should take a step back. Earlier, I read reports that Aaliyah’s family is not authorizing a posthumous release. I would hope Drake has enough respect to honor their wishes, and not try to pursue this.

      • That Ugly Kid

        This I can actually agree with. I’m hoping he doesn’t just say f*ck em and does it anyway. He at least know that Aaliyah’s uncle and cousin approves. Because they are the ones to own the rights to Aaliyah’s recordings.

        • That Ugly Kid

          We*

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        Maybe Rashad isn’t, but that “Enough Said” record was authorized and leaked by Barry and Jomo Hankerson, who are her uncle and cousin,and who served as her managers with Blackground Entertainment. Them ninjas provided the access to young Drizzy.

        • BeautifullyHuman

          That’s true, but they also have a vested interest. They’re the one’s generating revenue of her legacy. Perhaps, it’s the immediate family (Mom, Dad, bro).

    • BeautifullyHuman

      @ Mena

      *Strong side-eye*

      I couldn’t respond to your comment upthread, but not knowing who Frankie Beverly is…is BLASPHEMY!! Sorry I had to put you on blast, but girl, you CANNOT have a Black function — well at least a good one — without some Maze ft. Frankie Beverly. This is quintessential feel good music. I’m about to give you some homework…lol

      • mena

        They played 10 songs and i sat there like crickets were chirping. It was so bad. :-( Honestly though, I didn’t particularly care for anything I heard. Joy and Pain was the only song that I knew. Other than that, i will not be buying their greatest hits.

  • b sweet

    In a fashion similar to most of HBO’s memorable series, I always wonder if leaving the party before the music stops serves a legacy better than longevity.

    Mortality is such a profound yet not well understood part of life, we often attempt to bring balance to its precipitous effect by idealizing the immortal potential. I think that happened to people like Aaliyah, Left Eye, etc.
    Although I will say I’m particularly fascinated with Left Eye’s death because I watched that haunting VH1 documentary that showed the time before her death. It’s like she knew.
    I think of my own mortality often. I know this sounds crazy, but I’m one of those people who would sign up to know the day and time of my death. Not so I could try to circumvent it or prevent it, but so I could plan out everything and take care of things before I died.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “In a fashion similar to most of HBO’s memorable series, I always wonder if leaving the party before the music stops serves a legacy better than longevity.”

      you either die a hero or live long enough to be flavor flav

    • BeautifullyHuman

      “Although I will say I’m particularly fascinated with Left Eye’s death because I watched that haunting VH1 documentary that showed the time before her death. It’s like she knew.”

      That doc was definitely eerie. I remember feeling disturbed when they showed the crash and video went all fuzzy. Very profound.

      Some people battle with those spirits, though. Tupac was one of them. They just know their time here is limited.

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

    As a Aaliyah fan from way back in the 90’s, I have to say that this song is a tragedy. Why are Aaliyah’s people allowing her legacy to be ruined like this?! There need to be petitions, protests, boycotts! This cannot be!

    • Beautifullyhuman

      Her family released a statement indicating they are not authorizing an album. This is some YMCMB/OVO ish. Smh.

      • Beautifullyhuman

        I just re-read the article and the family is not “supporting” a project. I think there might be some music politics at play. Possibly her former label is spearheading this release without the wishes of the family.

        • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

          Well at least that’s something. Because if they had been supporting this nonsense Aaliyah wouldn’t be able to rest in peace.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        oh…and Blackground…here management team of Barry and Jomo Hankerson…her uncle and cousin. Who managed her career. It ain’tall of her family that aren’t supporting this.

        • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

          Okay. But she was very close with her brother and if he isn’t with it then it should happen.

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

            eh. that’s crapola. i’m sure she made plenty of decisions that he wasn’t happy about when she was alive. and if his opinion mattered that much he would be the executor in charge of her musical legacy to include any vocals left unused.

    • Iceprincess

      +1. I know champ jus said its rediculous to speculate on what she would want, but im pretty sure this aint it. Aaliyah had an aura about her that was beyond her years. She seemlessy blended with the older crowd, from the ppl she worked with to the men who fell in love with her. She was always kind of too cool for school. She would sniff out drake as the huge lame that he is in 2 seconds. IMHO.

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

        I agree. There is no way she would have wanted to collaborate with that no voice having loser Drake. He sounds like a cartoon character.

        • That Ugly Kid

          Drake’s the f*ckin’ man, you don’t get it do you?

          • mena

            Well played.

        • Breezy

          + 1 on everything Val said.

      • Around the Way Girl

        Lol I actually agree with this. His music isn’t as lame as he himself is.

    • Njnear

      Sounds very Paterno familyish…lol

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

        Ahem. Pardon me, do we know you?

        • Njnear

          Please define “we”?