This month, August 2021, the world reflects on the 20th anniversary of the untimely passing of music icon Aaliyah. The then 22-year-old was an unmovable force in music and flipped the entire industry on its head for the better. However, due to multiple disagreements between her label and the estate, most of Aaliyah’s discography had yet to touch a single streaming platform. This will all change as Blackground Records 2.0 announced that the Princess of R&B is finally coming to Spotify.
If At First, You Don’t Succeed…
The relationship between Aaliyah’s estate and her fans has been constant empty promises and false hope for nearly a decade. Blackground Records, co-founded by Aaliyah’s uncle Barry Hankerson, refused to release the singer’s music to the public for an entire decade. Just when it seemed like a hopeless cause, the official Aaliyah account stated on December 25, 2020, that they finally had full control of her YouTube channel. Seemingly, this meant the release of her music on streaming platforms was imminent and inevitable.
On January 15, after many frustrated and confused complaints, the estate insisted they were working hard to preserve Aaliyah’s artistry and brand. Seven months later, the estate posted yet another vague statement regarding the release of her music, leaving fans even more confused.
After a whirlwind of anger and doubt, those questions are finally answered, and Spotify will officially begin rolling out her music, starting August 20. Additionally, Blackground is now selling physical copies of her albums on CD, vinyl, and cassette, along with pop and R&B singer JoJo.
Baby Girl is coming to Spotify ? pic.twitter.com/1fDcB6HvaE
— Spotify (@Spotify) August 5, 2021
— AALIYAH LEGION (@AaliyahLegion) August 5, 2021
A Long Time Coming
It’s hard to believe that 20 years have gone by without Aaliyah physically seeing how she has impacted a global industry. With the help of many famous names in R&B and hip-hop, Aaliyah became a household name in her teen years and young adulthood. With record-breaking hits like “One in a Million” and “Are You That Somebody,” the songstress revolutionized everything she touched. From Normani and Beyonce to Zendaya and J. Cole, Aaliyah’s influence is heard and seen throughout today’s popular music and fashion. Many of these artists have even sampled Aaliyah’s music and vocals in their own songs, proving that she is the foundation and inspiration for young performers.
As far as film, the princess was honored with a biopic in her name and was released in 2014. Despite the movie receiving negative responses and reviews for how it portrayed the singer, it still garnered 3.2 million viewers who just adored Aaliyah.
Although her longtime fans have continued honoring her legacy by sharing various videos and interviews, streaming was always the one thing missing from the puzzle piece. Younger generations are discovering Y2K music and fashion, but for Aaliyah, there was never a proper platform to listen to her most iconic gems. With classics like “Rock the Boat” and “Try Again” hitting Spotify within the next month, it’ll open even more doors to a new audience.
Welcome Home, Baby Girl
Up until this point, the only albums and EPs available have been the ones released between 1994 and ‘95. This isn’t just a big deal; it’s a moment in history for everyone influenced and impacted by the legend herself.
Earning the title of “Princess of R&B” is no easy feat, but the late icon did it all by the time she turned 22. Her poise, grace, sophistication, and overall badass persona bleeds through the hearts of millions as she remains an irreplaceable voice in music. As much as this is a win for fans worldwide, it’s first and foremost a win for Ms. Aaliyah Haughton.
Make sure to pre-save Aaliyah’s music on Spotify now.
For more background on Aaliyah’s influence, check out EnVi’s piece on Normani’s single, “Wild Side!”
Thumbnail courtesy of Spotify.