R&B singer Aaliyah died ten years ago today when a
twin-engine Cessna plane that was carrying she and eight other people crashed in the Bahamas. It was a shocking jolt to R&B music, because unlike a
rocker who indulges in drugs or a rapper who embraces thug life, Aaliyah was dubbed
the “Princess of R&B.”
Personally, I dislike getting into hypothetical "what-if’s" regarding
deceased artists. It always feels
like an exercise in futility. But
Aaliyah is a bit of an unusual case, because unlike the deaths of
Tupac Shakur, Kurt Cobain, or Jimi Hendrix, Aaliyah’s death didn’t launch the singer into legendary
If anything, Aaliyah’s passing is akin to the death of Amy
Winehouse, another talented singer who will likely never be regarded as one of
the best to ever perform in her genre of music.
So the death of Aaliyah, even today, leaves me wondering
what the future would’ve brought her, the fans, and the music industry.
When she died, Aaliyah had already released three studio
albums: Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number,
One in a Million, and the self-titled
Aaliyah. The latter album is considered by many to be her best, as it
featured great writing, smooth vocals, and memorable beats.
But what would’ve been next for Aaliyah?
She probably would’ve made a strong push to act, like so
many other artists do. Having
already appeared in Romeo Must Die
opposite Jet Li, and posthumously starring in Queen
of the Damned, it’s likely Aaliyah would’ve followed in the footsteps of
Janet Jackson and attempted to balance music and movies.
As for her music career, Aaliyah was already on the right
path. Working with quality
producers and writers like Timbaland, Missy Elliot and Static Major, Aaliyah
(who was also a talented dancer) would’ve been able to compete and collaborate
with the likes of Beyonce, Ciara, Keri Hilson, and Kelly Rowland.
In death, Aaliyah may not have achieved legendary status, but she’s not forgotten. And while she died having not fully realized her potential, she left behind a strong discography that stands the test of time.