Aaliyah: Why She’s Still ‘One In A Million’ 20 Years Later

Aaliyah Dana Haughton was the beautiful songstress who, alongside visionary beatmaker Timbaland, constructed a melodic soundscape of bob-your-head rhythms. The late singer’s critically-acclaimed sophomore album, One in a Million, turns 20 on Saturday. Sadly, the milestone coincides with another tragic event: Thursday marks the 15th anniversary of Aaliyah’s untimely death. She was only 22.

Aaliyah would go on to release a critically acclaimed self-titled album in 2001, just a few short months before her death, bringing her total number of studio albums to three. While all three LP’s saw posthumous sales bumps for the singer, One in a Million was the only album to achieve multi-platinum status prior to her death.

One in a Million saw a steady increase in sales through 1996 and 1997. The album reached two-time multi-platinum status (selling more than two million certified units) on June 16, 1997, less than one year after its release, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. It also been named as Rolling Stone’s top 100 albums of 1990’s.

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Born in Brooklyn, but raised in Detroit, the superstar-in-the-making was only 17 years old when she released her Age Ain’t Nothin’ But a Number follow-up, and left behind a controversial relationship with R. Kelly. The album marked a major mainstream breakthrough for both artists, who would go on to become titans in the music industry.

Today, the album’s title track, written and produced by Missy and Timbaland, remains the biggest hit of Aaliyah’s career, notching an impressive eight weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop chart, and staying on the chart for a total of 26 weeks.

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Celebrities, musicians and noteables from around the world are paying respects to Aaliyah via social media including this video by Beyonce.

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A video posted by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on