Feature / Hip Hop

Aaliyah Remembered By Fans & Artists Worldwide On 20th Anniversary Of Her Death

Remembering Aaliyah 20 years after he death.

The world never forgets the musical icons that have changed the course of music. On this day, 20 years ago, fans worldwide reacted in shock when the news broke that the young and vibrant music star Aaliyah had died following a fiery plane crash.

She was just 22-years-old but had already cemented her place in the R&B and hip-hop community. She was loved by many, and her music seemed truly ahead of its time. The events of the day still come as a shock to many.

Aaliyah was leaving the Bahamas along with her team after shooting the video for her hit single “Rock The Boat.” That track would go on to become a phenomenal track and would dominate charts for a while. It is still considered a timeless R&B classic. It stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 for 25 weeks following its release.

What was even more saddening and somewhat infuriating about her death was that an investigation revealed that the pilot did not have the required qualifications to fly the aircraft and that he had falsified relevant documents to obtain his pilot license.

Another revelation from the investigation was that the aircraft was heavily overloaded before takeoff. As fate would have it, Aaliyah was not even scheduled to fly that day but the day after. She only chose to leave the day before because they had wrapped up the video early.

There’s no doubt that she would have been a superstar if she were alive today. Before her untimely death, the New York native who grew up in Detroit was enjoying massive success following the release of her debut album Age Ain’t Nothing.

Her talent had been recognized early, and at just 10-years-old, she appeared on the television show Star Search and performed in concert alongside Gladys Knight. By the time she was 12, Aaliyah had signed with Jive Records and her uncle Barry Hankerson’s Blackground Records.

Aaliyah’s debut album sold over three million copies and was certified double platinum. The album, which was produced by the now-infamous R. Kelly, peaked at number 18 on the Billboard 200. Her career took off following her collaboration with Timbaland and Missy Elliott for her sophomore album, One In a Million.

That album produced some of her most iconic hits, including tracks like “One In a Million,” “If Your Girl Only Knew,” and the cult favorite “4 Page Letter”. Her music keeps on giving and is a testament to her undeniable talent. In fact, a new report from Chart Data recently revealed that her “One In A Million” may make its first-ever appearance in the top 10 on the US albums chart this week. That’s 25 years following its release.

Aaliyah’s posthumous releases have sold an estimated 24 to 32 million albums worldwide. In the short time that she was with us, the singer received three American Music Awards, two MTV VMAs, and five Grammy Award nominations. According to Billboard, she is the tenth most successful female R&B artist of the past 25 years and the 27th most successful in history.

She was indeed the full package and did not just have the vocals but classic dance moves that made her a highly requested act as well. Many female musicians since her death have openly taken from her influential dance moves. She was also a sought-after model.

Several well-known artists and fans took the time out today to pay their respects to an artist that helped propel the genre to an even more global stage and whose influence may not ever be forgotten. It’s no wonder she was known as the “Princess of R&B” and “Queen of Urban Pop.”

Take a look at how fans, artists, and organizations paid their respects.