There has been talk for months about the release of a posthumous album from Aaliyah that will be executive produced by Drake and released through Blackground Records. Though that particular release may or may not feature the song that follows, I feel it’s important to note that this is not a one-off leak. There is more Aaliyah material on the way in 2013, and this post is only the beginning.
Wednesday (January 16) marked what would have been Aaliyah’s thirty-fourth birthday. A few members of the press highlighted the date, but most disregarded the day altogether until a never-before-released song entitled “Quit Hatin” began popping up on blogs. The song is a smooth and soulful jam that fits perfectly with the aesthetic of music the songstress had been writing at the time of her death, and to be honest I found it hard to fight off goosebumps while it played. No one ever questioned the great loss felt when news of Aaliyah’s death broke, and after hearing this song it is easy to understand why. Click below to stream “Quit Hatin.”
The ’90s are about to face a crucial test, one that might determine if the Clintonian era even has a shot at matching the staying power of the Reagan ’80s, a decade that continues to resonate more than 20 years after it ended. Welcome back, ’90s stars Soundgarden, SWV, Garbage, Brandy, Matchbox Twenty, Green Day, the Wallflowers, Blur, Aaliyah (via creepy interloper Drake) and No Doubt.
A decade is a long time in life, and an eternity in pop music, especially when you’ve spent one in a state of virtual inactivity, as did No Doubt, the band that will release its comeback album, Push and Shove, on September 25 (the same day Green Day returns with Uno!, the first of a trilogy of albums that the rock trio will release in the coming months). When No Doubt put out its last studio album, Rock Steady, in December of 2001, George W. Bush was less than one year into his first term as President of the United States, Friends was the No. 1 show on TV, and dated acts like Shaggy, Crazy Town and Ja Rule were scoring No. 1 singles on Billboard’s Hot 100.
The world, still reeling from September 11 exactly three months earlier, had yet to hear of Barack Obama, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, iPads, iPhones and American Idol. Britney Spears was the biggest female pop star on the planet, and she was in love with Justin Timberlake, best known as heartthrob No. 1 in ’N Sync, the world’s biggest boy band. In this post-millennial world, Rock Steady went double-platinum in the U.S. and produced three hit singles, including the Top 5 hits “Hey Baby” and “Underneath It All.” Continue reading ‘Sound And Vision: No Doubt Rides Again–But Can Gwen Stefani & Co. Rise Again?’
Drake must be the luckiest guy in music. He’s got an enviable portfolio of assets: looks, talent, street cred, excellent connections, gold and multi-platinum. Now the Canadian rapper has a beautiful woman, too—at least a controlling interest in her legacy. But is ownership of the next posthumous phase of Aaliyah’s career one benefit too many?
That’s what some are wondering as we approach the 11th anniversary (on August 25) of the death of Aaliyah, who was killed in a plane crash in the Bahamas in 2001, at age 22, cutting short one of the most promising careers in music. Since then, there’s been scant new material issued under her name. I Care 4 U, a posthumous album released in December of 2002, was followed by nearly a decade of silence.
Until now. Earlier this month, Drake unveiled a new Aaliyah track, “Enough Said,” credited to Aaliyah featuring Drake and produced by the rapper’s Take Care collaborator Noah “40” Shebib. There’s more: Drake has promised a new Aaliyah album, executive produced by himself and 40, with 13 or 14 tracks, to be released later this year.
Marvelous Enterprises Artist Development Center in Atlanta, Georgia, has helped launch the careers of New Edition, Usher, Keri Hilson, Aaliyah, Ciara, T.I. and many more R&B, pop and hip hop artists. And although she doesn’t hail from the ATL, Britni Elise may be the Artist Development Center’s newest ingénue. Not only does the Ohio-based singer have a limber set of pipes; she’s got a single that’s good enough to carry her into pop’s upper echelon. “Rock This” is a party anthem extraordinaire, a confident club banger that’s fit for prime time on the dance floor. But it’s not the only ace in Elise’s sleeve. A super charged power ballad, “I Miss U” lifts off at the chorus, Elise’s voice soaring over the scales. And her percussive, shimmering piano track “Hello (So Damn Right For Me)” is polished to perfection. With songs like these, Elise is poised for a big break into the mainstream consciousness. You can bet she’s gonna rock this.
Rappers are cool. There’s no denying that. Money, cars, girls, notoriety; what’s not to love? It’s all very gangster, very Scarface. It used to be that all these things were the aspirations of the boys from the hood, born from the dreams of those who came from nothing. But what happens when kids from a—shall we say, more gifted background—try to break into the rap game? There seems to be a growing trend of rappers that have come from less “hood” backgrounds that are trying to break into the game.
We’re not talking about Drake here, who may have been a child star but who has had his share of hardships growing up. Speaking of which, Draco Malfoy has been mulling a rap career. But all kidding aside, these are the children of celebrities, A-listers, that are trying to become rap stars.
First up, Chet Haze. Haze first came to prominence in 2010 with a remix of Wiz Khalifa’s “Black & Yellow” redone in honor of his alma mater, Northwestern University, “White & Purple” which you can hear below.
Rich Hil certainly looks more authenic then Haze, covered in ink with a scraggly, thuggish fashion sense to boot. A fashion sense that seems no way influenced by the work of his father, designer Tommy Hilfiger. Rich’s connection with the hip hop world might seem as strange as Haze’s, but he does have a certain pedigree. Don’t forget that Hilfiger was worn very frequently by rappers in the 90s, from Snoop Dogg to Aaliyah. Who knows, maybe a young Rich Hilfiger was palling around with his father at the end of a fashion shoot and was approached by a rap impresario like Puff Daddy or an icon like Coolio and thought, “Why not me?” Well, while Chet Haze may seem more at home with the hashtag rap and good time vibes akin to the likes of Khalifa, Curren$y and Rick Ross, Hil is seemingly a bit more serious about his craft. He recently announced that he has been officially been signed to Warner Records after spending time on Swizz Beats‘ Full Surface imprint. He even has a rap sheet. In the authenticity contest, it sounds like Rich has the advantage over Chet. But more importantly, how does he stack up musically? Check out the clip for “Cookies and Apple Juice” below and see for yourself.