All the way back in 2012, Drake announced he was spearheading a posthumous record by Aaliyah, who died in 2001. At the time, it garnered all sorts of questions as to whether Drake—a Canadian rapper with absolutely no relation to the late singer or her musical rights—could actually do such a thing. Especially since people like Rashad Haughton, Aaliyah’s brother, denied that he could.
Well, as it turns out and as many suspected, Drake was talking out of turn, announcing the album and even releasing a single before he had anything locked down with Aaliyah’s family. In an interview with Vibe, Noah “40” Shebib, Drake’s longtime friend and producer, said the whole hubbub around the record was a “very sad experience for him” because he was “naïve to the politics surrounding Aaliyah’s legacy,” as well as “a bit ignorant to Timbaland’s relationship and everyone else involved and how they’d feel.” Shebib said Timbaland asked him not to do the record, but it wasn’t until Aaliyah’s mom said she didn’t want it to come out that he—and, presumably, Drake—“walked away very quickly,” even though they’d already wrapped up seven tracks off the LP. So, never mind.
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