It seems strangely apropos that Jan. 16 marks both the nationwide opening of the Biggie biopic Notorious and what would have been the 30th birthday of Aaliyah — two artists whose outsized talents exceeded the too-short time they spent on the planet.
The R&B singer and actress, who was only 15 when she released her platinum debut album (fittingly titled Age Ain’t Nothin’ But a Number) in 1994, died in a plane crash in the Bahamas in August 2001, just as her career seemed to be hitting an exciting new level — her last, best album, Aaliyah, went gold within a month of its release, and she had been cast to appear in two sequels to The Matrix (the role eventually went to Nona Gaye).
Friends and collaborators like Timbaland and Missy Elliott still reference her in their work today (Timba dedicated a portion of each DJ set to her during Justin Timberlake’s 2007 FutureSex/LoveShow tour), and it’s not hard to see why. Even the nearly-decade-old songs like “Try Again,” posted below, still sound as indelible today as they did then.
And after her death, a host of famous names, including Missy, Jay-Z, Rosario Dawson, Queen Latifah, Quincy Jones and Toni Braxton, gathered on both coasts to film a video for the top-5 hit “Miss You,” as tribute to the singer they called “babygirl” (clip after the jump).
Popwatchers, do have a favorite Aaliyah memory? We’d love to hear about it.