Home Music intervention 9 hip-hop and R&B samples of Aaliyah that prove her music is timeless

9 hip-hop and R&B samples of Aaliyah that prove her music is timeless


Almost 20 years after her death, young R&B prodigy Aaliyah remains almost as influential today as she was during the late 1990s to the 2000s. Although her complete music discography – three albums studio and countless radio hits – never released on streaming services before, the legacy of the late R&B star has survived, very often in the songs of others.

From OutKast to Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole to Tamar Braxton, hip-hop and R&B artists and musicians have long drawn inspiration from the sweet tones of Aaliyah and the adventurous production work of her songs with the kind courtesy of Timbaland and (unfortunately) R. Kelly. Drake’s notorious obsession with the late singer has spawned several tracks featuring Aaliyah’s vocals, from her song “Unforgettable” with Young Jeezy, which opens with her vocals, to “Is There More” where she incidentally closes the song.

Now, with the first release of Aaliyah’s highly anticipated catalog arriving on Spotify this Friday, NYLON has rounded up nine of Aaliyah’s greatest samples in hip-hop and R&B, featuring songs from Drake, The Weeknd, Tink. , Normani, and more.

“Unforgettable” by Drake ft. Young jeezy

Samples: “At your best (you are love)” by Aaliyah

“Unforgettable” from Drake’s debut studio album Thank me later, is on the surface a lead on dealing with a breakup while simultaneously becoming famous. But the song’s title hints at its deeper meaning, a theme that’s ingrained throughout Drake’s career: a desire to be legendary, timeless – like a classic R&B song. Sampling the Isley Brothers’ 1994 rendition of Aaliyah’s 1976 “(At Your Best) You Are Love” makes this point instantly clear. What could be more unforgettable than one of the most iconic singers of our time?

Tamar Braxton ft. Future, “Let me know”

Samples: “At your best (you are love)” by Aaliyah

Aaliyah’s slow, silky ballad “At Your Best (You Are Love)” received a burst of energy when Tamar Braxton reused the song’s beat and Aaliyah’s voice for a mid-tempo R&B tune with accents. traps with Future. Aaliyah’s song “Let me know” in an angelic chipmunk tone echoes softly in the background throughout the song. Overall, the 2016 track is a tasteful little bop that hits all the good nostalgia buttons as well.

“What You Need” from The Weeknd

Samples: Aaliyah’s “Rock The Boat”

“What You Need”, a seductive and hypnotic ballad of the enigmatic of The Weeknd Balloon house era, samples Aaliyah’s sultry “Rock The Boat” – a song about her addiction to her lover’s touch. “Boy, you really get me high / I feel like I’m drugged,” Aaliyah sings in the opening of the R&B song; So it’s fitting that Abel sampled the song from “What You Need” – a song about his daughter’s addiction to her love like one might be with drugs. (Although the original version of the song sampled Aaliyah’s “Rock The Boat”, it was the only sample not allowed for repackaging of Abel’s early mixtapes in Trilogy, and the sample was then removed from the track it inspired).

“Blow My High (Members Only)” by Kendrick Lamar

Samples: Aaliyah’s “4-page letter”

“RIP Aaliyah,” Kendrick sings throughout the chorus of this Article 80 title in direct tribute to the late singer. In fact, the whole song shows Kendrick paying homage to fallen hip-hop icons, as he samples Aaliyah’s “4 Page Letter”, the late Pimp C verse from Jay-Z’s “Big Pimpin” and references Lisa “Left Eye” from TLC. Lopes, who died at the age of 30 in a car accident.

OutKast, “Pink and blue”

Samples: “Age is nothing but a number” of Aaliyah

“Pink & Blue”, from Outkast’s double album in 2003 Speakerboxxx / Love below finds Andre 3000 fantasizing about a relationship with an older woman. “Miss Lady, you could have been born a little later, but I don’t care / So what if your head has some gray hair?” He raps with signature candor. The track opens appropriately with a sample of Aaliyah’s “Age Ain’t Nothin ‘But A Number” – a turnaround from its original meaning, which referred to Aaliyah’s relationship, then 15 years old, with R. 27 years old. Kelly.

Tink, “millions”

Samples: Aaliyah’s “One in a Million”

Of the 21 songs borrowed from Aaliyah’s “One In A Million” according to WhoSampled, few do it better than Tink who raps on a repurposed and revitalized version of the song’s clean beat courtesy of none other than Timbaland himself. same. Indeed, the producer himself defended Tink as the Next big thing, and this track proves this distinction. Even on a direct rhythm from Aaliyah, she manages on her own.

J. Cole, “Best Friend”

Samples: Missy Elliott’s “Best Friend” with Aaliyah

One of the deepest samples on this list, J. Cole’s “Best Friend” is taken from the song “Best Friends” by Missy Elliott and Aaliyah. It’s also less of a sample than a straightforward remix, as Cole lets Elliott and Aaliyah do their chorus thing while he takes over the verses. At his best, it almost feels like the rapper is in an active dialogue with the late R&B singer, revealing the power transcending time that a properly placed sample can have.

Drake, “Is there more”

Samples: “More than a woman” by Aaliyah

So Scorpio The track that concludes Disc 1 of the giant project, Drake uses a slightly distorted version of Aaliyah’s lush vocals from “More Than A Woman” to close the song. Throughout it, he wonders if there is more to life than money and success, and if there is more than he needs. The sample is cut like a divine intervention – “Passion, moment / Sweat pearls, feel me”, sings Aaliyah – resulting in a rather percussive connection for the first part of the disc.

Normani “Wild side”

Samples: Aaliyah’s “One in a Million”

This one is tricky. Although Aaliyah’s uncle said that Normani’s team did not actually get permission to sample the beat of “One In A Million” – as his team insisted the song doesn’t use a direct sample from the track – it seems the hit inspired “Wild Side” in a way or another. When Timbaland (who produced “One In A Million”) gave his seal of approval by sharing a video of him playing on the song, Normani replied, “I must have died when I saw this.” The “Motivation” singer has also spoken about the song’s influence in interviews: “The drum motif is there,” she said. Zach Sang.

Independently. At the very least, “Wild Side” is a very tangible tribute and homage to Aaliyah. Normani humbly raps and sings to the song’s “One In A Million” drum motif, bringing out a completely different side to the iconic production. It’s a connection between two R&B prodigies that seems almost cosmic.