According to the famed late singer Aaliyah’s uncle and former label boss, Barry Hankerson, the artist’s new posthumous record, Unstoppable, is slated for release later in January.
And the new LP features some big names, including Drake, Future, Ne-Yo, Snoop Dogg, Chris Brown and more.
In a recent interview on Monday (January 4), Hankerson told the YouTube show, The Geno Jones Show, about how the new LP coalesced.
Hankerson, who founded Blackground Records, said: “About five years ago we realized we had quite a bit of music that we had never put out that was recorded by Aaliyah. The vocals were there, and we decided to try to remaster it and to ask other artists that were big fans of her if they would like to participate in being on various songs.”
Hankerson and the label have already released the LP’s debut single, “Poison,” which features The Weeknd. It came out in late 2021 and has already garnered about a million views on YouTube.
In the YouTube interview, which you can see below in its entirety, Hankerson talked about his niece’s passing and the difficulty it presented.
Aaliyah died in a plane crash in 2001 at the age of 21. At the time, she was one of the biggest names, not just in R&B but in popular music, having collaborated with a big-name producer, Timbaland, on a number of hits.
Hankerson said, “The worst part, obviously, was when she passed away. But working with Aaliyah was always a pleasure. She was such a delight to work with ’cause she was very professional. She was very bright. She had an incredible memory, so she could read lyrics and remember them after only reading them once or twice.”
He added, “It was very difficult sometimes when we were listening. Before we started listening to her sing, she would be maybe talking on the mic—just talking about personal things and… about how she wanted to hear the finished product of the song she was working on. So it was very emotional because we knew when she was saying that, she had no idea she would not be here to hear the finished product. So it was incredibly heart-wrenching at times. But we did suck it up and we got through it.”
In other Aaliyah news, Hankerson, along with EMPIRE Records, has begun to release the singer’s entire back catalog to streaming services.