MIMO is happy to welcome a new writer to our staff: Berenice Famili, who will be covering our hip-hop and R&B categories. Her debut piece is below. –Ed.
So, remember that posthumous Aaliyah album that Producer Noah “40” Shebib and Drake were planning to release? Well, it looks like it’s not happening anymore–it has reportedly been canceled. Shebib stated in a recent interview with Vibe magazine: “The world reacting to Drake’s involvement so negatively, I just wanted nothing to do with it. That was a very sad experience for me. I was naïve to the politics surrounding Aaliyah’s legacy…Ultimately, I wasn’t comfortable and didn’t like the stigma.” Shebib also explained that even though he had already completed seven tracks for the album, he was compelled to walk away from the project when Aaliyah’s mother said she does not want this album out.
On August 2012, Drake made an official announcement about the album, while releasing the track “Enough Said,” featuring a vocal from Aaliyah and a rap verse from Drake. However, a month later, he admitted during an interview at NYU’s Skirball Center that “things went downhill with [the project].”
Soon after the release of the single, Aaliyah’s family quickly distanced themselves from the album, and her brother Rashad Haughton issued a statement on Aaliyah’s official Facebook page saying, “There is no official album being released and supported by the Haughton family.” Even producer and well-known Aaliyah collaborator Timbaland and female rapper Missy Elliot denied any involvement with the album’s production. Nevertheless, Shebib did tell Vibe: “Tim said to me ‘Don’t stop, make the album.’ I think that was Tim taking the position of, ‘I’m not going to stop you. If you’re not going to do it, that’s your decision.’”
Shebib added that Blackground, a label that runs under Aaliyah’s cousin Jomo Hankerson, told him directly, “If [Aaliyah] was around, she’d want you to do this project.” Blackground has not yet issued a statement as to whether another producer will complete the project.
Aaliyah tragically died in a plane crash in 2001 at the age of 22.