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Remembering Aaliyah: Why She's Still Inspirational 15 Years Later [VIDEO]
The music world was shocked back in 2001 as one of the biggest artists in R&B and music tragically died in a plane crash heading back to the United States following the completion of her "More Than A Woman" & "Rock The Boat" music videos.
At the time she was on her way to taking the next step in her career. Following the overwhelming success of One In A Million in 1996, the singer took a bit of a hiatus while staying relevant with hits for the Nutty Professor and Romeo Must Die soundtracks before her next release.
Her album Aaliyah had just been released. It would be her third album simply titled Aaliyah. Her every project highlighted her growth and transformed her to a different artist, giving us a different piece of her each time.
So why 15 years after her passing, is Aaliyah so cherished in the Millennial community?
Want to see an artist that influences style until this day look at Aaliyah.
Back in 1994 when she came onto the scene, it was at the tail end of the New Jack Swing era. While the trend changed, she kept her identity of oversized clothing, and made it sexy by the time 1996 came. Until this day the Tommy Hilfiger style originated by Aaliyah’s famous ad continues to be a trend today. The baggy pants and tops, its all an extension of the coolness factor and the girl next door image the Brooklyn born kept throughout her career.
Artists such as Teyana Taylor, Ciara and more have adopted this style throughout their career, keeping her memory alive.
Who can forget the swoop over her eye during the One In A Million era? Every girl wanted that back then, and it kept the hint of curiosity that kept us wanting more, and more.
Whether she was 15, 18, 22, you always felt that she was older than her age. If you every watched Aaliyah she always felt like the coolest girl in the room. She was the girl next door, always calm, cool, and collected. Her smile lit up the room, and most likely the posters in your room as well.
“She was one of those individuals that would light up a room," Puff Daddy said in 2001. "She always greeted you with a smile. Her time was coming; [she] was just about to explode."
While DMX who co-starred with her in Romeo Must Die, and recorded the single "Back In One Piece" with her described her in the following way.
"down-to-earth sister with enough energy to put anyone on a cloud."
It was something that was showcased in MTV's Diary days and months before her untimely passing.
Music – Career
The singer was first introduced to us back in 1994 when she linked up with R. Kelly for her debut album Age Ain’t Nuthin But A Number. She was only 15 at the time, but she was singing about topics much more mature than her age. It peaked at 18 on the Billboard 200, and sold over 3 million copies . In a world at that time where that was considered taboo, it gave her a sense of realism that carried throughout her career.
When she returned a more mature woman in 1996, the sounds of Timbaland and Missy Elliott help bring her career to the next level. Songs such as “One In A Million,” and “If Your Girl Only Knew” are still timeless and connect to the audience until this day. The mix between traditional r&b and hip hop became the perfect blend for a soundtrack for women to enjoy in that generation.
We not only saw her grow, but we grew with her. We saw her go from being a teenager, to a young woman before our eyes, and it mirrored in her music until the time of her passing.
It’s a shame we will never get to see the potential that she was working so hard to reach. She had always spoke about her intention to take her career into film. Something she did with Queen of the Damned, continued in Romeo Must Die, and was going to blow potentially blow up with the original casting of Zee in the Matrix.
By the release of Aaliyah, it was starting to feel like she found herself as a artist as she gave us more sensual tracks such as “Rock The Boat,” “I Care 4 U” and “Never No More.” Rolling Stone reviewed with four stars. She influenced many of r&b singers you see today along with one of the biggest artists out today in Drake.
While it’s been 15 years later her legacy still lives on until this day. RIP "Baby Girl."