This feature is a part of Aaliyah Week, celebrating the 20th anniversary of her debut album. Check in every day this week for another feature on the hit-maker.
Aaliyah Dana Haughton accomplished much in the 22 years she was afforded. She recorded three seminal R&B albums, all of which sold at least one million records. She starred in a hit movie. She worked with nearly everyone who was popping in the industry from 1994 to 2001, a list that includes R. Kelly, Ginuwine, Treach, Jermaine Dupri, Static Major, Missy Elliott, and Timbaland. More importantly, while working alongside those people, she developed a sound that's lived on and influenced an entirely new generation of artists, R&B and otherwise. You can hear Aaliyah's influence all through the music industry right now.
Aaliyah is best remembered for her genre-bending collaborations with Timbaland. Starting with her sophomore album One in a Million, the two, along with Missy Elliott and other Blackground Records producers, crafted a space-age funk feeling with a string of hits that left an indelible mark on popular music. However, it all began in 1994 with her debut album, Age Ain't Nothing But a Number. Written and produced entirely by R. Kelly, who was introduced to the young Aaliyah by her uncle, Blackground Records founder Barry Hankerson, Age Ain't Nothing But a Number introduced the world to a daring young woman equipped with a stunning voice just starting to explore the terrain of love, lust, and trust.
With the album's 20th anniversary this week, it felt like the right time to look back on Aaliyah's brief, but extraordinary career and run down her greatest songs.