Nobody can emulate the angelic songbird that was Aaliyah. An immaculate talent with an enchanting voice in tow, Aaliyah was the embodiment of an R&B songstress. Despite her untimely demise over 14 years ago, Baby Girl’s presence still permeates throughout the industry. To this day, artists have paid homage to Aaliyah by sampling her classics and remixing her best records. “At Your Best,” “Four-Page Letter,” “One in a Million,” have all received the remix treatment from a slew of marquee artists. While many have tried to sprinkle a tinge of Aaliyah to spice up their records, only a few have tastefully managed to concoct the right formula.
Here are the five best Aaliyah-sampled records ever.
5. Tink – “Million”
Since her rise last year, the Chicago hybrid has garnered a slew of comparisons to the late singer. By teaming up with Aaliyah’s producer, Timbaland, Tink has produced several potent cuts, most notably, her track “Millions,” which samples Aaliyah’s “One in a Million” record. While the foundation of the record remains intact, Tink seamlessly flips the track and makes it her own with a poignant verse.
4. Kendrick Lamar – “Blow Your High”
Kendrick is a lyrical mastermind. Before he usurped the rap throne with good kid, m.A.A.d city, Kendrick fortified himself as a talented wordsmith with his project Section 80. One of the standout tracks came in the form of “Blow Your High,” which sampled Aaliyah’s “Four-Page Letter.”
R.I.P. Aaliyah, R.I.P., yep, R.I.P. Aaliyah, R.I.P., yep
That’s exactly what this sound like
But never will I ever forget Left Eye
Roll up, put a ribbon in the sky
And a button on your lips, don’t blow my high.
3. Drake – “Unforgettable” feat. Young Jeezy
Drake’s love for Aaliyah has been well documented. In past interviews, Drake credited the Princess of R&B as one of his influences. His love for real even extended to his executive producing her posthumous album before abruptly pulling the plug last year. Though the album never materialized, he did manage to dig in the crates and unearth “Enough Said.” Rewind back to 2009, Drake’s first album, Thank Me Later boasted a very dope Aaliyah sample. “Unforgettable” found Drake and Jeezy talking slick for the ladies over Aaliyah’s “At Your Best.”
2. J.Cole – “Best Friend”
A J. Cole and Aaliyah collaboration would have been something special. The world would have clamored for a track featuring these two talented stars. The closest we’ll ever get is J. Cole’s track, “Best Friend,” from his Friday Night Lights mixtape. It samples Missy Elliot’s and Aaliyah’s “Best Friend,” record. With Cole reserved to rapping duties, he allows Aaliyah to breathe life into the track by allowing her to sit comfortably on the bridge and hook. Good work, Cole.
1. Jay Z – “A Million and One Questions”
DJ Premier skillfully sampled Aaliyah’s “One and A Million” and allowed Jay Z to flex his lyrical muscle over the smooth instrumental. With Jay being an adept lyricist with a fluid flow, it sounds like a match made in heaven. Even though the two never collaborated while Aaliyah was alive, Jay did manage to show love to Baby Girl by providing a commendable verse to her song, “Miss You (Remix).”