Dear Drake: Please Leave Aaliyah Alone

aaliyah_promo.jpg
The R&B singer Aaliyah died in a plane crash 11 years ago this month; last week Drake announced that he'd be executive producing a posthumous album for her, and the first taste of that album, "Enough Said," arrived online yesterday. Lest you think that the song would be a chance for people to remember her legacy, think about how singular her voice was, and reflect on how she'd be pushing R&B forward today, it is instead a testament to Drake's ego; it starts with an "uh" from the former Degrassi star, who then, in response to her letting loose a particularly lovely "yeah yeah yeah," offers up a "yo, whassup" that is annoying-guy-at-a-bar-level cringeworthy, and made even moreso when it's repeated. I actually had to shut the song off before my first listen hit the 30-second mark, so irritated was I by Drake's attempts to act not just as its executive producer, but as Guy Steering The Ship And Don't You Forget It, Okay.


Aaliyah feat. Drake, "Enough Said"

The swirly production, courtesy of Drake collaborator Noah "40" Shebib, is fine enough, although its chillwavery pales in comparison to the glitchy, propulsive beats that Timbaland supplied for tracks like "We Need A Resolution." But then there is the issue of the lyrics—in particular and unsurprisingly Drake's verse, since the whole song seems to be an excuse for him to lay down a couple of bars where he can use the "talk to me about your problems, I want to help you" setup laid by Aaliyah's verses to enter into a poor-little-me therapy session in which he brags about his watch and reminds people that, hey, he's famous and he has "haters." (Every million I gain an enemy or a cousin/ And people's feelings have changed ever since I became somethin'," he gripes. God, get a Tumblr, dude. Or at least a thesaurus.) Voice contributor Julianne Escobedo Shepherd said it best:

"... if Drake had any iota of an inkling how to act, he would not have offered that piece of shit of a megalomaniacal verse on a track with a new sketch from Babygirl. I've been disdainful of the concept of him sharing songspace with her vocals because his narcissistic manipulative emotions are the antithesis of the deep pathos her reticent presence represented. But this is worse than I could have ever anticipated. F U Drake and while we're at it, RIP Static Major. Respect to the Haughton family, Diane, Michael, Rashad."

Amen.


Aaliyah feat. Timbaland, "We Need A Resolution"

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17 comments
Ummmmmm....no
Ummmmmm....no

 Lets forget all this "memory", "legacy", talk and focus on what this song is: Drake using and exploiting someone elses artistry for his own means. He has to remind us all how great he is. If he stopped telling us, then who would? Nobody. Maybe his publicist.

 

 I present a theory. What if you had a wholly mediocre talent? Maybe a female R and B singer. Mind you she loves artist X who is a deceaced rapper. She takes artist X's throw away remix lines, gets a half-ass production team, whines about how tough her life is, in an entirely self obsessed way, releases an album of these shallow musings, and calls it a tribute.

 

 If this was Ke$ha doing this to Biggie I would expect more of an outrage. That being said, there isn't one. There wont be one. All that any of this will do is devolve into "yore a HAYter" or some nonsense. Drake is, and always will be, a Canadian who saw the rap game from afar, and had to be a part of it. He is a talentless hack who is raping someones memory for his own personal gain. Don't get any of this twisted. Missy and Timbaland are even trying to be diplomatic on this. This is not an artist we're discussing. It's an opportunist. He's not paying tribute. He's stealing.

 

 He said it himself: last name ever, first name greatest. Fraud. The kid is a joke.  Add the wholesale theft of a dead persons work and you have a graverobber. I never liked the guy. Never hated him. Just another in a long line of fools who grabbed a mic and thought they were the second coming. Please leave album sales, popularity, and your own bias out of this.

 

  Do you know how someone with a shred of integrity would have approached this?  How about getting the people who wrote, produced, and nurtured this young woman involved in a project that would be benificial to either Aaliyah's family or as maybe a scholarship program in Drake's "hood" of Canada to help young struggling artists. What will we get instead? Another song about how hard it is to be Drake. 

 

 

 

mabyillah
mabyillah

I'm not going to lie. I wanted to hate it as I'm a nostalgic fan but once those drums and her gorgeous voice comes in, it was a wrap for me. Aaliyah's vocals compliment 40's sparse production so well like a perfect match. Minimalist production may be the way to go with Aaliyah's project because Aaliyah always thrived on moody, atmospheric tracks (Rock the Boat, It's Whatever, Giving you more) just as well as she maneuvered Timbo's complex landscapes. Overall, it's a timely reminder as to why the 90s generation is obsessed with Aaliyah. What other singer could convey concern, compassion, tenderness and sincerity without histrionics or sappiness? What other singer could melt hearts just as easily as she could mend them with her voice? Nobody could do it better than Aaliyah. People criticize the track for being minimalist and "simple" but in a era full of hyperbole and wretchedness (although Drake's verse was a bit much admittedly), simplicity and honesty may be the best cure. I can't believe I'm saying this but thanks Drake and 40.

latenitebump
latenitebump

aaliyah wass the bomb and had a promsiing future well beyond music. still not over the fact that whitney houston wanted to cast her in the lead role in the remake movie sparkle.

could not have made a better choice!

both are sadly missed.

 

why all the hate for drake? people come together.

tah_shee_ma
tah_shee_ma

i have mixed feelings about the whole situation...i idk what to think....but i will say this it's not the fact that Drake did what he did that was wrong...it's how he went about doing it

keepitcomin
keepitcomin

I agree with this s100 times over. The execution of this reveals the motive as clear as day--to stroke Drake's "ego".  This is the guy who wears an earpiece with Aaliyah's face on it so she can "guide him" on stage as an "angel".  In this song, you see Drake attempting to use Aaliyah as his personal "angel" helping to soothe his tales of woe for being famous YET AGAIN...oh and diss artists who sell less than him.  It is so not worthy of using Aaliyah for vocals.   And to add insult to injury, he has the nerve to say "featuring Drake" as if this isn't just another lazy Take Care reject with her vocals added as the hook singer.   Same drowsy Marvin's Room beat and everything.,,,

 

Yes, Drake may be obsessed with Aaliyah and see her as his private "angel" but guess what? AALIYAH ACTUALLY HAS A LEGACY ALL HER OWN and means much more than that to many people.  The whole thing just leaves a really bad taste in my mouth.

DJCEO
DJCEO

 @c.baptistewilliams  you are right everyone must evolve.  Doesn't mean she would have evolved to work with Drake.  You ask when was the last time Timbaland/Missy had a hit compared to when was the last time Drake had one?  I ask you this, when was the last time you didn't hear a Timbaland or Missy track at a party?   There music is timeless.  Drake hasn't made a timeless record yet.  If Drake stopped making music now you would never hear his music again.  Look I'm a fan of Drake because of his honesty & I think he's talented but he's becoming a bit redundant.  No matter the subject the song calls for Drake finds a way to invite us to his pitty party.  It's a bit annoying.

c.baptistewilliams
c.baptistewilliams

i liked the song... was great to hear her voice again. And anyone that thinks that Aaliyah would still be doing the same thing 11 years later (ie Timbaland/Missy produced music) is sadly mistaken... you have to evolve over time and adapt. Whether you like his music or not, when is the last time Timbaland or Missy has had a hit.... and when is the last time Drake has?

chris
chris

Julianne Escobedo Shepherd went a little bat shit on the thesaurus trying to sound academic. Let's find a balance guys.

katherine
katherine

The production's actually almost as bad as Drake's presence, although maybe not so immediately, obviously so. I listen to Aaliyah's vocals, and I want a dynamic backing for them. 40 doesn't really do dynamic. This works for some people, but it definitely does not for Aaliyah, unless you see her the way that too many indie-electronic types see her, some wispy processed thing of a vocal to be played like a synth pad.

 

But really, fuck Drake.

whoisjlee
whoisjlee

I don't get all the animosity towards him..he's helping to keep her legacy alive, he's a fan just like a lot of us out there..so what's the problem? If anyone else had of did something like this (as far as the new generation is concerned) it would of been terrible..Drake has a genuine love and admiration for Aaliyah and people try so hard NOT to like him without really even giving him a fair chance. He's honoring her..he's said it himself and Aaliyah wasn't a bitter or hateful person, I'm sure if she was still here and was able to see him doing this she would be happy

 

Aaliyah has influenced people all over the world from the US to the UK and then some so what's wrong with someone who is actually popular within the music biz to show what type of impact she had on his life and career? NOTHING! People constantly complain about how a lot of these new artists don't show respect for the artists before them who paved the way for them, but when an artist does actually step up and let it be known that they were heavily influenced by a pioneer it becomes a problem. I just don't get it..SMH why don't you guys just LEAVE DRAKE ALONE?

ska_doosh
ska_doosh

@Ummmmmm....no If you actually listened to more of Drake's songs besides the popular radio hits (YOLO?) then you would realize that he is a person of immense talent and though he often creates ego-infused rap verses, he is actually a sensitive and thoughtful artist. 

His remixes of Aaliyah's songs are his tribute to one of the most influential R&B artists of the 90s, as well as one of Drake's biggest inspirations. Hear any slow R&B song by Drake and it is reminiscent of Aaliyah circa 1999. I salute Drake's efforts to vamp up and reintroduce a younger generation to never before heard and incomplete songs of Aaliyah.

alishasmall
alishasmall

 @c.baptistewilliams If you have ever heard Aaliyah, you would know that she wouldn't do a duet song that included so much cussing or bragging about what that person has.  She may have evolved after 11 years, but I doubt the core of what her music is would change.  This song is more about Drake than about remembering Aaliyah.

maura.johnston
maura.johnston moderator

 @c.baptistewilliams I don't think she'd be doing the same thing 11 years later. But I do think that essentially using her voice as an instrumental for Yet Another Poor Little Rich Boy Drake Verse is an affront to her legacy. 

kodada73
kodada73

 @chris Ermmmm....no. Drake needs to find some balance on that bum bit of 'production'. It's sounds bad, not even speaking about the content, the production is just not good.

keepitcomin
keepitcomin

 @whoisjlee why doesn't he leave other artists' legacies alone? He went out of his way with this--no one was asking for this.  and when you mess with a deceased artist's music, you better do it justice. if you do not, expect to hear about it.

 

and if you cannot take feedback, get the fuck out the business. it's not for you.

whoisjlee
whoisjlee

 @keepitcomin Like I said sweetie until I hear from HER FAMILY - her parents and / or her brother that he needs to cease with releasing or sampling any Aaliyah material then I support it because like I just said he's helping to keep her memory alive..people complain about how these newer artists don't show enough respect to the artists before them who have paved the way for their careers.. but when someone in the newer generation DOES take the initiative to show their love and appreciation for an artist that has influenced them it becomes a problem.

 

I think people intentionally find things to NOT like about Drake I don't see anything wrong with this song and anyone who is an Aaliyah fan or whatever knew she was not a jealous or bitter person so anyone honoring her I'm sure she would be happy..

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