It's official, the late singer Aaliyah has a posthumous album on the horizon. Barry Hankerson, Aaliyah’s ex-manager and the owner of the back catalog masters of Aaliyah’s music announced on The Geno Jones Show, that the Unstoppable album will drop this month.
You would think fans would be excited about unreleased music especially with the 20th anniversary of the singer’s death approaching but that could be farther from the truth. Some see Hankerson’s attempt at this project as a cash grab, especially after the release of the single Poison featuring The Weeknd completely flopped last year. Poison, with its choppy vocal mixing, is on the upcoming album. There seems to be a collective feeling of disappointment about the project.
Hankerson founded the label, Blackground Records, which the late singer was signed to, and the label has seen its fair share of controversies. Hankerson managed other artists including, Tank, JoJo, Timbaland, Toni Braxton, and they all had disputes with Hankson for proper remuneration. Hankerson is also responsible for introducing a 12-year-old Aaliyah to R. Kelly, who later abused and married the singer when she was 15 years old.
According to Dazed Magazine, featured artists include Chris Brown, Snoop Dogg, Future, Ne-Yo, and Drake, which is another issue with the project. Considering Aaliyah inspired so many of today's female recording artists, wouldn't it make more sense to feature artists like Missy Elliot, Ciara, or Alicia Keys? Aaliyah also advocated against domestic abuse. “Never No More,” from her 2001 self-titled album, spoke on the psychological distress of domestic violence.
Aaliyah's legacy is nothing short of iconic and, this project could have served as a beautiful homage to the singer but, instead, it feels like a rushed gimmick riddled with artists who have a record of abuse and misogyny.
If I were a major recording artist, I would stay away from this project. Simply because Hankerson cannot be, and the singer's uncle continues to shroud his niece's legacy in controversy.