Aaliyah’s legacy will continue to live on, but not without rocking the boat.
Aaliyah’s uncle, Barry Hankerson, has confirmed that Aaliyah’s first posthumous album is on its way. The album titled, Unstoppable, is set to release this month. He broke the news during a 21-minute conversation with Chicago radio personality, Geno Jones.
Barry Hankerson is the founder of Aaliyah’s former label, Blackground Records. He also was her manager during that time. Geno opened up the conversation asking Barry how this new Aaliyah project came to be.
“Well about five years ago we realized had quite a bit of music that we have never put out, that was recorded by Aaliyah, the vocals were there, ” Barry continued. “And we decided to try to remaster it and to ask other artists that were big fans of hers if they would like to participate in being on the various songs. Everyone responded with such an overwhelming response that they would love to do that.”
As Barry had mentioned previously, features within the album will include big artists from the R&B and Hip-Hop realms. Artists including Snoop Dogg, Drake, The Weeknd, Chris Brown and Future. Barry also mentioned that longtime collaborators like Timbaland and Missy Elliot are involved in the project.
The first single from the project was released in December 2021, and “Poison” features The Weeknd.
Aaliyah – “Poison” feat. The Weeknd
The song was met with mixed emotions from fans.
For the past couple of years Barry Hankerson has been criticized by fans and Aaliyah’s estate for releasing unauthorized music in the past. Aaliyah’s vocals can be heard on songs like Chris Brown’s “Don’t Think They Know” and “Enough Said” featuring Drake. As of last year, Blackground Records announced that they were going to release all of Aaliyah studio albums to streaming services.
That decision prompted Aaliyah’s estate, which is run by her immediate family, to speak out.
“…all the individuals who have emerged from the shadows to leech off of Aaliyah’s life’s work.” is as firm of a statement that it can get. Barry Hankerson did not respond to that statement released last year. Blackground Records seems to stand in the position on what Aaliyah would’ve wanted. During the interview with Geno Jones, Barry Hankerson was asked about how hard it was for him to complete the album.
“It was very difficult sometimes, before we started listening to her sing, she would be talking on the mic and talking about personal things,” said Hankerson. “And talking about how she wanted to hear the finished product of the songs she was working on,” Hankerson continued. “It was very emotional because we knew that when she was saying that, she had no idea that she wouldn’t be here today to finish said product. It was incredibly hart wrenching at times, but we sucked it up and got through it. Aaliyah wanted all of her music to come out.”