UPDATE #2: August 13th 2012
Through a statement, it appears that Missy & Timbo will NOT be involved with this project. They didn't say, but I think that after Aaliyah's family came out and said that they were not endorsing or condoning any projects with Aaliyah's music, I think Timbo and Missy, out of respect for the memory of Baby Girl, stepped back.
Classy move on their part, in my opinion.
"Although Missy and Timbaland always strive to keep the memory of their close friend alive, we have not been contacted about the project nor are there any plans at this time to participate," said Scott-Young. "We've seen the reports surfacing that they have been confirmed to participate but that is not the case. Both Missy and Timbaland are very sensitive to the loss still being felt by the family so we wanted to clear up any misinformation being circulated."
UPDATE #1: Timbaland is reportedly producing two songs on the upcoming Aaliyah album.
So news came out earlier in the year that Drake was going to be producing a new posthumous album by Aaliyah, who passed away in August of 2001 when her plane crashed coming back from a video shoot for Rock the Boat. This is back in the news now, as Drake has just released a single called "Enough Said" featuring him and previously unheard vocals by Aaliyah.
As expected, this hasn't been met with universal acclaim.
The song sounds good, I'll admit, and I'm not against this project, I just think that he's going about it all wrong. And I'm not the only one, as there are others who are upset about this. One of the people who are less than enthused about this is producer Timbaland. Timbaland worked with Aaliyah during her career to the point that it's impossible to talk about Aaliyah without mentioning Timbaland and rapper/singer Missy Elliott. Those three are so intertwined with each other, career wise, that for Drake to do this project without the input and collaboration of Timbaland and Missy is, in my eyes, disrespectful to the memory of Aaliyah.
In fact the people who I have seen either defend this, or not understand the big deal with Drake not seeking out Timbaland for this project, are almost all people who are too young to remember just what a dynamic combination Timbo and Aaliyah was. Name any Aaliyah song that she was known for, and I can almost guarantee you that Timbaland was involved.
This would be on par with someone releasing a Guru tribute album and not bringing in DJ Premiere, who's name is synonymous with Guru. It just seems wrong and smacks of something born out of satisfying a personal thing, rather than truly honoring the memory of someone that he professed to love.
There are those out there who are coming down on Drake over this but I think one of the criticisms is fairly weak. And that is the idea that because Drake never really knew her like that or worked with her when she was alive, that it's somehow disturbing that he is doing this. Also the fact that he has Aaliyah tattooed on his back. Now the tattoo is a bit out there, but the other stuff, man go ahead with it.
How many people reading this are big fans of artists that they've never met or interacted with? How many artists who are reading this are fanatical about rappers or singers that you never met, worked with or any of that? Who would LOVE to do a project honoring that person? I imagine there's a good deal of you out there.
So I don't have a problem with Drake wanting to do this. He's not an artist that I follow (although I bought his latest album when it was on sale on Amazon, but only listened to "Marvin's Room") but I have no problem with him wanting to produce an album of an artist that he seems to really like and respect.
There are many people out there who have MAD LOVE for Aaliyah and would absolutely be furious at anything hinting at disrespect towards her or her legacy. Aaliyah was one of those singers that just shined brightly and seemed to be all about positivity and goodness. She was taken from us way too soon. I know there are many who would love to hear some "new" Aaliyah music.
But it has to be done right. It has to be done respectfully and it has to be done in a way that truly is reflective of who she was and what she did. And to do that properly, Timbaland and Missy Elliott have to be involved.
I'll take it a step further and say that, for me, a proper Aaliyah tribute would bring back only those who she worked with in the past. Bring back Timbo, Missy, Ginuwine, DMX, R. Kelly and everyone else you can that she worked with in the past. And you absolutely go and reach out to Dame Dash, who was her boyfriend.
Don't go and have all these people who never had anything to do with her sound or her vibes in there. There's a certain appeal to that type of thing, I realize, but I just would not want that.
I loved Aaliyah and that sound that she had. She was a shining moment in an era of hip hop and R&B that was the bright star in the history of the genre. We can't possibly hope to recreate that lightning in a bottle, however we CAN make sure that this is handled with the utmost respect and deference.
And for that to happen, Drake, you gotta bring in Timbaland and Missy. Because if you don't, and you fuck this up, you're going to piss off a lot of people. And you're going to regret, for the rest of your life, that you had the chance to make a proper tribute to someone you profess to respect, and you blew it.