It’s about time we get to hear directly from Barry Hankerson (Aaliyah’s uncle and the CEO of Blackground Records), regarding the much gossiped about upcoming posthumous Aaliyah album. In a phone interview with ThatGrapeJuice, Barry shared more details about the work in progress, their initial and hopeful intentions for the album, and addressed concern from her family and past collaborators.
Some of the highlights from the chat include news that Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder, and Aaliyah’s fiancé Dame Dash is expected to help co-produce the album along with Drake and Noah ’40′ Shebib, it will include 16 unreleased tracks, and it will have several album artworks in the packaging.
Young Money’s Drake and Noah Shebib have been named as the project’s executive producers, how did this arrangement come to be and how happy are you with the work they’ve produced for the album thus far?
Drake and Noah did an exceptional job with “Enough Said”. The intent was too be creative with one song at first and see how the fans would react. We look forward to them hearing the rest of the album next year.
Likewise. So, could you run us through the creative process, exactly how are the new songs being crafted and how much unreleased material do you have to work with?
Sure. We’re working with 16 never before heard songs that were part of an album she was recording before she died. Fans will hear the same angelic tone they loved so much in these new songs.
Upon confirmation of the project’s arrival , there was come confusion as to whether Aaliyah’s mother and brother were in support of it, could you explain what that was about for those who don’t know… and let us know how they feel about it as it stands today.
We always expected an unpleasant welcome this album.Due to the fact we have control over the estate and authoritative over royalties we will be moving forward with this album.
We never wanted the bad press that’s come with the album. The family might of made statements about us not supporting their “daughter” but the fan support and peaceful intent behind it is the reason we’ve decided to go forth with it.
The Aaliyah Biopic is currently on hold until the Haughton family agree to go forward with it. Before the controversy Warner (who would fund the movie) wanted Keshia Chante to play the lead role, and Aaliyah friends play themselves. We can’t go forward until Aaliyah’s family agree to let us.
We’ve always been sympathetic to Aaliyah’s mourning, and we’ll always love the graceful and angelic girl she was to the Haughton family. To us, she’ll always be ‘baby girl’.
Missy Elliott, Timbaland and DMX- all of whom Aaliyah considered friends- have all shared their thoughts on the release, was there any particular reason they weren’t called to collaborate with Drake and Noah Shebib?
Due to circumstances, we can’t control the emotional toll of healing of her legacy like others. The intent is not to disrespect the family, nor do BlackGround Records want to shed any bad light around Aaliyah’s legacy.
We’d like to go in a different direction with the 16 tracks and have been more than open to work with past collaborators.
So, Damon Dash – her ex fiance- is more than willing to assist Drake and Noah in producing the album.