In her short time with us, Aaliyah has blessed us with some amazing music and style that has had a long-lasting effect on our culture today. On August 21, 2001, Aaliyah, along with eight others on board, passed after their airplane crashed shortly after takeoff from the Marsh Harbour Airport in the Bahamas. In memory of her life, I will be taking a look back on her career and how it has made an impact on our culture. From her fashion sense to her powerful voice that was as powerful as it was calm, we will take a look at what made Aaliyah one of the most influential women in the game.
Age Aint Nothing but a Number
It all started for Aaliyah back when she performed on Star Search at the age of 10. Shortly afterward she signed with Jive and Blackground Records at the age of 14 and began work on her first album Age Aint Nothing but a Number with R. Kelly. At that time R. Kelly had the Midas touch when it came to R&B and was the perfect producer/songwriter to work with Aaliyah. It was almost a given that her first album would have the success it had. In the end, the album was a huge success going double platinum. Along with the success of the album you had a lot of young girls dressing more like her. The baggy jeans, sunglasses, and having her hair over her eye, became a trend among teenagers during that time.
One In A Million
After cutting ties with R. Kelly and Jive Records after the first album, Aaliyah linked up with Timbaland and Missy Elliot to put together her second album One in a Million. The uniqueness of their sound was exactly what she wanted. The sound that they produced maintained her street image but added some more sexiness to it. That was exactly what she wanted and needed at the time. It gave us the perfect balance with her sultriness and a toy-boyish charm. Not only did it show in the music, it was reflected in her style which inspired many female artist’s personal styles after her.
Aaliyah (The Album)
After taking time off to shoot two movies, Romeo Must Die and The Queen of the Damned, Aaliyah worked on the last album before her death Aaliyah. The album comes five years after One in a Million. The album came during a time where she was becoming more demanding in the film industry. Balancing both her acting and singing careers was something she enjoyed it wasn’t favorable for her music career. Her label was waiting on her next album and pressured her to release it faster than planned. The album was written mostly by Static Major and wasn’t as popular to fans initially as her first two. It took a while after its release and her passing for people to give it the credit it needed being that it was released during a time in which the industry was flooded with contemporary R&B.
In the end, Aaliyah’s music, style, and work ethic helped motivate and encourage female artists like Teyana Taylor, Ciara, and Rihanna. Her influence reached across music, fashion, and film, making her one of the first triple-threat female artists. One of the biggest questions that we have today about Aaliyah is how big would she have been if she was still with us. One thing we do know her music and style will continue to influence the generations after her.