Drake's appreciation for Aaliyah is well-known, from the way he's spoken of the late singer in interviews to sampling her voice for his "Unforgettable" track with Young Jeezy.
"Dear Dana," Drake begins, referring to the singer by her middle name. "I've never lost a parent, a friend, or a lover but I will never forget this day for the rest of my life. I remember getting the news that you had passed and it connected with my heart like a clean shot from Muhammad Ali. I was crushed."
The Thank Me Later rapper went on to explain that he was one of Aaliyah's biggest fans and that he was "truly in love" with her. He complimented the star's appearance, the way she carried herself, and the confidence she communicated in her music, be it about love or heartache.
Now that he's become a professional musician, he lamented that he and Aaliyah would never get the chance to collaborate.
"But you should know, we all listen to you every day and we remain inspired and moved by all that you've given the world," he finished. "I hope I make the right life choices so I can end up in heaven where I know you rest your head. I'll continue to make music in your honor until the day we finally meet."
Nearly a decade has passed since R&B icon Aaliyah's death, and her impact is still being felt. On Wednesday (August 25), the ninth anniversary of the star's tragic death at age 22, Missy Elliott and Drake sounded off about the later singer's effect on music, and several of her celebrity fans took to Twitter to reflect on her enduring style and influence.
Funky songstress Janelle Monáe credits Aaliyah's unique look and mesmerizing footwork with keeping her on the straight-and-narrow. "Aaliyah was an inspiration," the Midwestern-born artist tweeted. "Always kept me & my friends in [Kansas City] out of trouble. Too busy in the mirror doing her 'swoop' bang & dance moves.:)"
Many stars co-signed each other's thoughts about the late hitmaker, who died in a plane crash in the Bahamas after shooting her "Rock the Boat" video with Hype Williams. DJ Drama re-tweeted Trina's "R.I.P Aaliyah 'We Will Always Love You' " shout-out. Rick Ross re-tweeted T.I.'s "R.I.P. Aaliyah" message, while Mary J. Blige re-tweeted Ne-Yo's missive about the fallen star.
"Today is the day that the R&B Angel Aaliyah passed on," the singer-songwriter wrote. "RT if you loved her the way I did!!WE MISS YOU BABYGIRL!!!!"
"We'll always love you Aaliyah," Nicki Minaj tweeted. Minaj's Dream Team associate Diddy revealed that an unheard Puffy/Aaliyah collabo cooked up in the Caribbean is somewhere in the vaults. "Unknown fact: Aaliyah + I recorded a track in Trinidad that was never released- I wish I could find those tapes now," Diddy tweeted. "Damn. RIP AALIYAH."
Timbaland protégé Keri Hilson said she felt a strong connection to the "One in a Million" singer. "#ripAaliyah I feel like you were a sister I've nvr had the pleasure of meeting," Hilson tweeted. "No one will ever replace your shine, nor should one try."
Ciara, whose agile moves, belly-bearing tops and sassy vocals are reminiscent of the late singer's, agreed with Hilson that no one will be able to fill the void Aaliyah left behind. "RIP Aaliyah," the ATL songstress typed. "U can NEVER be replaced!!"
By now, the signing of the South Pacific's #1 Urban entertainment company, Dawn Raid Music Ltd., to an exclusive 3-year distribution deal with SMC Recordings/Fontana is old news. The new news is that Dawn Raid's flagship Platinum artist, Savage, is readying his second US release, Savage Presents The Tribal Council, for an October 5th street date. The 2-disc set is a compilation of 32 songs showcasing the world's best R&B, Hip Hop & Reggae artists from the South Pacific region, alongside an A-list of Platinum US stars; Akon, Pitbull, Baby Bash, E40, Talib Kweli and Bobby Valentino.
For those of you for whom Savage's name doesn't ring an immediate bell, take your minds back to the club scene in a little movie called, Knocked Up.....no? Not coming to you? Well, here is the video to Swing, which garnered well over 2 millions views on YouTube alone http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgZOQVV-tmI The song was a #1 smash for Savage and catapulted him to overnight success in the US.
As wonderful as overnight success stateside was for Savage, fame was nothing new to him at all. In fact, if you ask a native of the South Pacific about Savage, you will be regaled in much the same way as if you had asked a native of Brooklyn about Biggie Smalls. Savage first stormed the New Zealand charts back in 2002 with the group he founded, The Deceptikonz, and their #2 debut album, Elimination. First released back home in New Zealand in 2004, his solo single, Swing, went instantly to #1 there, followed by Moonshine ft. Akon, which not only spent 7 weeks at #1 but introduced the world to the now super star (Akon). Moonshine was certified Platinum in June 2005 and was Akon's first #1 hit anywhere in the world.
Back in the US, and with the help of Universal Republic and the placement of the song in Knocked Up, Swing was certified Platinum, with over 1.8 million units sold, by August, 2008. It became the highest selling New Zealand single in US history.
Now, after a brief sojourn in New Zealand for the release of his solo album, Savage Island, which had debuted on the US' Billboard Heatseekers chart at #12, Savage is back with his brand new single, Twerk. Produced by Twice As Nice, who have several tracks on The Tribal Council, Twerk has an ass-shaking vibe that is very reminiscent of Swing.
Regardless of its origins in the world, Hip Hop's mission to keep 'ya ass on tha floor' stays true. Twerk is no exception so you can definitely expect to hear it soon, in a club near you.
On Wednesday, I reported on Gorilla Zoe's upcoming "King Kong" album, with new information provided by a promotional flier. On that flier, the logo for Entertainment One (E1) was included.
I have confirmed with an E1 Music representative that Gorilla Zoe is signed to E1 Music. It doesn't appear that the deal is part of something larger with Block Entertainment, and may instead be specific to Zoe.
For that August 18 article, Russell "Block" Spencer confirmed to me that Zoe was still signed to Bad Boy.
As it stands now, Gorilla Zoe is signed to Bad Boy Records/Atlantic Records/E1 Music/Block Entertainment. What the additional label means for his project is unclear at this time.