Ten years ago today, Aaliyah was a 22-year-old, Grammy-nominated singer whose third album Aaliyah had just debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200. She’d starred in the Jet Li action movie Romeo Must Die and had recently finished filming Queen of the Damned, in which she played the lead role. Aaliyah was young. She was uncommonly beautiful. She was going to appear in The Matrix 2. And then the small airplane carrying her from a video shoot in the Bahamas back to Miami crashed during takeoff. Aaliyah and eight other passengers were killed.
It’s hard to speculate on a career so short—at the time of her death, Aaliyah had only one Number 1 hit, “Try Again,” with Timbaland, off the Romeo Must Die soundtrack—but given her incredible talent, the speed of her success and the fact that she had many connections within the hip-hop and R&B community (she worked closely with Timbaland and Missy Elliott. Oh, and remember the R. Kelly marriage rumors?) there’s no doubt that she would still be around.
(LIST: Top 10 Albums of 2001)
“Are You That Somebody”
“If Your Girl Only Knew”
“Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number”
Aaliyah was only 14 when she released her first album, Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number, in 1994. It’s a shame that her number never got very high.