Much of Aaliyah’s most popular music is notably unavailable to stream. Her albums One in a Million (1996) and Aaliyah (2001), plus singles like “Are You That Somebody?,” have stayed off digital streaming platforms. Only early singles and her debut album Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number (1994) is available. On Wednesday (August 4), fans on social media speculated about a streaming release after the account Blackground Records 2.0 shared a new website and hashtag: #AaliyahIsComing.
The original Blackground Records released the majority of Aaliyah’s music and was owned by the late singer’s uncle and former manager Barry Hankerson. Hankerson owns the majority of Aaliyah’s masters aside from Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number, and he’s confirmed that he’s behind the label’s “2.0” revival.
The Estate of Aaliyah Haughton shared a statement on Wednesday, August 4, which detailed how they’ve “battled behind the scenes, enduring shadowy tactics of deception with unauthorized projects targeted to tarnish.” The statement criticized an unnamed “unscrupulous endeavor to release Aaliyah’s music without any transparency or full accounting to the estate.” The statement continues:
The estate offered a hashtag of their own—#IStandWithAaliyah—and Missy Elliott retweeted the estate’s tweet. Earlier this year, the estate noted, “While we share your sentiments and desire to have Aaliyah’s music released, we must acknowledge that these matters are not within our control and, unfortunately, take time.”
A 2016 Complex article “The Inexplicable Online Absence of Aaliyah’s Best Music” outlined how One in a Million and Aaliyah were illegally uploaded to iTunes in 2013 by a distribution company called Craze Digital, which didn’t own the rights to her music. A collection of Aaliyah’s hits were uploaded to streaming services in 2017, but were soon removed.