Photo of AALIYAH

Source: Sal Idriss / Getty

When Aaliyah’s plane crashed upon departure on August 25, 2001, she had just wrapped visuals for “Rock the Boat.” The video, which would end up being her last, was one of the first times we saw Aaliyah as a self-realized woman. The first was perhaps “We Need a Resolution,” which was the lead single for her self-titled album—and first album in five years—Aaliyah.

“We used five pythons in the shoot,” she shared with MTV before her death. “I totally fell in love and felt an affinity toward them. They’re very mysterious creatures. They live in solitude, [and] there are times in my life [when] I just want to be by myself … I feel they are very complex creatures, [but] at the same time, they’re sexy, too. That’s why they represent Aaliyah pretty well.”

And it’s that enigmatic charm, that effortless sexy, that made her so special to all of her fans. While there’s no denying the void felt upon Aaliyah’s passing, her spirit can be felt in the music of today’s music artists from H.E.R. to Kelela. As we near the 17th anniversary of her tragic death, CASSIUS remembers Aaliyah with these five songs that capture her spirit.

We love you, Baby Girl.

H.E.R. – “Your Way”

Rochelle Jordan – “What the Fuss”

Kelela – “All the Way Down (Kahn Remix)”

Tink – “Million”

Joyce Wrice – “Home Alone”