Drake will co-produce Aaliyah’s posthumous album and Timbaland and Missy Elliott will be involved in the project, the R&B singer’s label, Blackground Records, confirms to Billboard. Drake and his close collaborator, Noah “40” Shebib, will co-produce the LP using 16 unreleased tracks and “fragments” as source material. Blackground, run by Aaliyah’s cousin Jomo Hankerson and his father Barry, hopes to release the album by the end of the year.
“We really felt like it was time. There’s a real new generation that doesn’t know her necessarily, and we wanted to continue her musical legacy with this new generation. That’s one of the reasons why we wanted to do very contemporary music,” said Hankerson. “We didn’t want to make it a nostalgic project; we already did that with the ‘I Care 4 U’ album. The idea was to release new music for her diehard fans, and also reintroduce her music to a new generation that doesn’t really understand how much influence she has in the music that they’re listening to today.”
While Hankerson did not specify if Timbaland had already produced tracks for the album, he did reveal part of Missy Elliott’s involvement. “One of the records that we had that was never released was a Missy record that we obviously are going to be refreshing,” he said. Still, Hankerson made clear both artists will work on the project. “I can tell you that Timbaland will definitely be involved, Missy will definitely be involved,” he said.
At first, Hankerson denied Drake had signed on as a producer, downplaying his contributions to song appearances. But Blackground later reached out to Billboard to confirm Drake’s role as executive co-producer.
Earlier this week, a new Aaliyah track featuring Drake was posted online by Blackground. Aaliyah died on August 25th, 2001, in a plane crash. She was 22. The Drake-produced record would be her second posthumous album, following 2002’s I Care 4 U.