Aaliyah's Music Still Influences (and Vibes) 20 Years Later

On the 20th anniversary of the singer’s death, her legacy, style and influence remain solid in 2021


Aaliyah Haughton’s life was tragically cut short 20 years ago, but the “Princess of R&B” is still on top of music charts, headlines, and hearts, today.

Haughton, who also went the nickname “Baby Girl,” died in a plane crash along with eight others on Aug. 25, 2001.

The singer was leaving the Bahamas after filming a music video for her newest single “Rock the Boat,” when one of the small plane’s engines failed, causing it to crash shortly after takeoff.

On the 20th anniversary of the singer’s death, her legacy, style and influence remain solid in 2021.

Aaliyah’s Music (Finally) Hits Streaming Platforms

Haughton’s sophomore album “One in a Million” was released on steaming services earlier this month – 20 years after it debuted on the top of Billboard charts.

After years of back and forth disputes within the singer’s estate and fans’ public outcries, Haughton’s catalogue is trickling out on Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon Music and other streaming platforms.

And fans couldn’t be any more excited.

Although fans were thrilled, the singer’s estate did not approve of the drop.

“For 20 years we have battled behind the scenes, enduring shadowy tactics of deception with unauthorized projects targeted to tarnish,” her estate said in a statement posted on Instagram. “Now, in this 20th year, this unscrupulous endeavor to release Aaliyah’s music without any transparency or full accounting to the estate compels our hearts to express a word - forgiveness.”

Aaliyah’s Influence on Music and Artists Today

The “Princess of R&B” has been gone for two whole decades, but you can still hear and see hints of her in songs, music videos and images across mainstream media today.

One of the most recent examples of her influence comes from R&B artist Normani, who sampled the drum pattern and production nuances from “One in a Million” in her latest single.

In a recent interview, Normani said that Aaliyah is one of her favorite singers of all time, and that “One in a Million” served as one of the inspirations behind her newest hit “Wild Side” that also features Cardi B.

In "ASMR the Interview," gymnastic silver medalists Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum share their favorite hype songs and their thoughts on sushi. And Chiles even gives us her ASMR rendition of Normani’s "Motivation."

Drake is an Aaliyah fanatic – and he wants the world to know.

The Canadian rapper has slid references to the late singer, both subtly and blatantly, in his lyrics for years.

Pulling from “Are You That Somebody?” Drake rapped, "Girl, I gotta watch my back, ’cause I'm not just anybody" on Young Money’s “Bed Rock.”

More than a decade after her death, he then dropped “Enough Said,” which featured unreleased vocals from the R&B icon.

The list of artists who say “Baby Girl” inspired them includes Ciara, Rihanna, Jhene Aiko, SZA, and Beyoncé.

Knowles paid tribute to the late icon on the anniversary of her death several years ago with a throwback clip of the two on the red carpet.

Who knew that a sweet, chill voice from the past was going to be the sound of the future?

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