Drake filled in some holes surrounding Aaliyah’s upcoming posthumous release when he said that he and producer Noah “40” Shebib would be ’commanding’ the LP, but now the late singer’s family-run label, Blackground Records, has offered up more clarification and refuted some of the rapper’s claims.
Earlier this week, a Facebook post from Aaliyah’s brother Rashad Haughton stated that her immediate family would not support the album, but Drake told Much Music that the singer’s inner circle thought he was perfect for the job.
Aaliyah’s cousin Jomo Hankerson, who helms Blackground Records along with her uncle Barry Hankerson, confirmed to Billbord Biz that the album is in the works, while brushing off Drake’s claim to be leading the project.
According to Hankerson, the LP will feature 16 unreleased songs and snippets from the singer blended with contributions from “contemporary artists,” and it will be executive produced by himself and his father. He did confirm that Drake would likely appear on multiple songs on the project, and that 40 would be “heavily involved.”
“We really felt like it was time. There’s a real new generation that doesn’t know her necessarily, and we wanted to continue her musical legacy with this new generation,” Hankerson told Billboard. “That’s one of the reasons why we wanted to do very contemporary music. We didn’t want to make it a nostalgic project; we already did that with the I Care 4 U album. The idea was to release new music for her die-hard fans, and also reintroduce her music to a new generation that doesn’t really understand how much influence she has in the music that they’re listening to today.”
For fans who are still irate at the thought of an Aaliyah album without input from Missy Elliott or Timbaland, rest easy. “Timbaland will be involved with this project. One of the records that we had that was never released was a Missy record that we obviously are going to be refreshing,” Hankerson explained. “[’Enough Said’]really kind of came sooner than we thought it was going to come, so it’s really the beginning of the creative process for us. We’ve got a record out while we’re still creating the project. A lot of that is still up in the air, but I can tell you that Timbaland will definitely be involved, Missy will definitely be involved.”
Hankerson also admits that the label was so excited with the final product of the new single “Enough Said,” that they released it without having a full plan laid out. As of July, Blackground Records is working with publishing company Reservoir Media Management to properly push the late singer’s music through film, television and outlets like Spotify and iTunes. According to Reservoir’s Executive Vice President, Rell Lafargue, requests have already included Dr. Dre wanting to sample her hit single “Rock the Boat.”
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