Today (8/25) marks fourteen years since the world lost the Princess of R&B, Aaliyah, in a tragic plane crash that took her promising young life. She would’ve been 36 years old now, had her plane not crashed after filming the video for her single Rock the Boat.

Following her untimely death, obituaries did not hesitate to praise her innovation, unique persona and the impact she had on the music industry in such a short amount of time. She was lauded as a visionary who kept herself above the gender wars by channeling both masculine and feminine qualities, appealing to a broad audience, and being sexy without selling herself.

She was one of the first artists to take a chance on Timbaland and Missy Elliott, who at the time were relatively unknown, because she believed in their quirky, textured and futuristic production, which later became the dominant sound of pop music. She was a pioneer in mixing elements of pop, hip-hop and soul with a softer more understated vocal than her over-the-top R&B predecessors.

Many of today’s biggest stars, including Rihanna, Ciara, Alicia Keys, and Drake, attribute their sound to Aaliyah. She changed the landscape of hip-hop and R&B for those who came after her.

Her material has since been covered, remixed and sampled by a wide variety of artists, including the xx, James BlakeForest Swords, the Weeknd, Tink, Frank Ocean, Banks, Rick Ross, OutKast, A$AP Rocky, Timbaland, Jay Z, J. Cole, Dom Kennedy, Drake, Gucci Mane, Tamar Braxton, Girl Talk, and many more.

Although we will never know the great music that might have been had she survived, her music lives on still today. The use of her image, story and unreleased music has constantly been surrounded by controversy. She has become untouchable – no surprise considering her name is the Arabic word for “supreme.”

In honor of her legacy, let’s take a look at how her music career has lived on since 2001. Also, be sure to tune-in all day on SiriusXM FLY (Ch. 47) as they celebrate a life cut short.



October 9, 2001: The music video for Rock the Boat premieres on BET after there was some uncertainty of whether it would ever air after her death.

January 9, 2002: Aaliyah wins two posthumous awards at the American Music Awards for Favorite Female R&B Artist and Favorite R&B/Soul Album for her album Aaliyah.

February 22, 2002: Aaliyah’s second and final film, Queen of the Damned, hits theaters and grosses $15.2 million in its first weekend, ranking number one at the box offices.

December 10, 2002: Aaliyah’s first posthumous album of previously unreleased material, titled I Care 4 U, is released and debuts at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, selling 280,000 copies in its first week.

February 10, 2005: Where Could He Be, a song by Aaliyah ft. Missy Elliot and Tweet leaks, but is later pulled from the radio because it was released illegally.

July 2, 2011: Kendrick Lamar releases the song Blow My High (Members Only), paying tribute to Aaliyah and sampling her song 4 Page Letter on his debut studio album Section .80.

August 5, 2012: Drake releases a song featuring Aaliyah’s unreleased vocals, titled Enough Said, online.

June 17, 2013: Chris Brown releases Don’t Think They Know, featuring Aaliyah — originally a duet between Aaliyah and Digital Black.

February 7, 2014: Katy B releases a song called Aaliyah as a tribute to the late singer, which is featured on her sophomore album.

March 27, 2015: T-Pain unveils the Aaliyah collaboration track Girlfriends during the listening party for his album, The Iron Way, but the song ultimately doesn’t end up on the album.

August 8, 2015: Timbaland takes to Instagram to announce the release of new music from the Aaliyah archives, coming soon!

Photo by Photo by Mikael ‘Mika’ Väisänen

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