Late R&B singer Aaliyah is making a comeback – of sorts.
The Grammy-nominated songstress, who died in a tragic 2001 plane crash at the age of 22, has cropped up on a new single titled “Enough Said” that features the vocal and producorial talents of best-selling rapper Drake (who premiered the tune at his 3rd annual OVO Fest in Toronto earlier this evening). And amazingly enough, it actually works – striking the sort of evocative, low-key R&B vibe that Aaliyah excelled in during her woefully brief career.
From a hypnotic lyrical opener that sees the late singer intoning “Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah,” to later verses in which she implores a lover to “Tell me what you would like me to do/To help you, help me, help you,” Aaliyah’s silky-smooth vocals come hauntingly to life over the somber beat, recalling the remarkable ability she possessed in life to wring a sense of genuine and understated emotion from even the most mundane lyric.
Luckily Drake doesn’t overplay his hand here, staying true to his “featured” status by breaking in with an only occasional “Yo, wassup” and later interjecting a brief rhyme that sees him brushing off his lover’s concerns with, “Bothers me when you gotta play therapist/That shit’s embarrassing” and, later, “Don’t you ever wake up disgusted? Every million I gain an enemy or a cousin/And people’s feelings have changed ever since I became somethin’…And I don’t know if speaking on it helps/This is shit’s that’s on my mind, I just keep it to myself.”
But Aaliyah’s vocals are the true star here, and props must go to Drake for handling her not-insignificant musical legacy in a respectful manner while also crafting a tune that actually feels fresh. There’s been a lot of hullabaloo (much of it negative) surrounding his plans to produce a forthcoming posthumous album for the singer, with even Timbaland coming out against the possibility in a recent interview with New York’s Power 105:
“I know they trying to drop some Aaliyah records, but if he do it, it should be with me and Missy. …The proper way for him to do that would be for me, him and Missy to be all on the record. The best decision, what the fans would want to see is all three of us. It can’t be something to make money off of ’cause I think it’s wrong to make money off the dead.”
It’s not wrong for Timbaland to feel this way, of course – the music industry is rife with those looking to profit off the memory of deceased artists, and he was an important collaborator during Aaliyah’s career – but “Enough Said” suggests that, while Drake may not necessarily be the “appropriate” producer to tackle the planned full-length, he may just be the right one.
My grade for “Enough Said”: A-. After listening to it below, be sure and rate it for yourself at top left!
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