The cousin and uncle of the late Aaliyah, Jomo and Barry Hankerson, have told Billboard that an album is in the beginning stages of production. The two run Blackground Records and are behind its release. The goal is to expose her music to a newer generation by using 16 unreleased songs and “contemporary artists” to update her sound.
“We didn’t want to make it a nostalgic project; we already did that with the I Care 4 U album,” explains Hankerson. “The idea was to release new music for her diehard fans, and also reintroduce her music to a new generation that doesn’t really understand how much influence she has in the music that they’re listening to today.”
The Hankersons will co-executive produce along with Drake and Noah “40” Sheib. Producers Timbaland and Missy Elliott’s presence will also be felt on the album. It’s not clear, though, if their contributions will be new material, or already-produced songs from the past. “Timbaland will be involved with this project. One of the records that we had that was never released was a Missy record that we obviously are going to be refreshing,” Jomo tells Billboard. “A lot of that is still up in the air, but I can tell you that Timbaland will definitely be involved, Missy will definitely be involved.” Both producers have not yet publicly commented.
Along with the album, boutique music publishing company Reservoir Media Management is working with Blackground to market Aaliyah’s music to tv, film, iTunes and Spotify, where her music isn’t yet found. They are also working on licensing to allow for sampling and covers of her songs to be allowed. Executive Vice President of Reservoir Media Rell Lafargue mentioned that Dr. Dre is in talks to sample “Rock the Boat” for a new song.
Though still in the early stages, the aim for the album’s release is by the end of this year. The Hankersons of Background Records and Lafargue feel the fans’ excitement. “I believe that we recognize the demand and want to give her fans what they want,” Lafargue said.