Saturday, 27 August 2011
A GIRL LIKE YOU
A woman more than one in a million.
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
Dearest Aaliyah, it's too hard to believe that it's been a decade since the angel in you was taken from us. Baby girl (or Li, Li too your closest) you did us all proud from your family to your fans. You don't know what you do to us, no one will ever take your place. The love you gave could never be replaced as you spent your life and shared your world with us. Don't you understand? When your heart spoke you turned us inside out, your all we need, no one else, your personality and everything you did made us love everything about you. Your smile, your style was so fly we couldn't deny, we digged you. You made us believe. You gave us all a real good feeling. It's been said before and will be said again, but let's tell it like it is you truly where one in a million, 'More Than A Woman'.
As a young princess you reigned supreme, then you shared the throne with Mary J. Blige as the queen of R&B. Only Alicia Keys could come close now. With all due, deserved respect Beyonce and Rihanna can't touch you, no one can. To find any competition, they would have to dig deeper to women like Erykah Badu or Jill Scott, or go back as fas as ladies named Tammi or Diana. You where and are the very best. Your music lives on, never gone, but we still miss you and remember to this day. 'Are You Feelin' Me'? You where that somebody. I 'Dont Know What To Tell You', a young woman ruled the charts and the sound like no one else. You brought the best out of everyone from Tommy Hillfiger to Nas ('You Won't See Me Tonight'). A beautiful woman, an angelic dancer with street savvy and effortless cool. Who could forget? The 'Back & Forth' beginning's with R. Kelly back when you represented the 'Old School' and a 'Young Nation', we where under your groove. Rocking the Kangol and shades at 15, making a lasting declaration that 'Age Aint Nothing But A Number'. Your spirit still echo's on in the charts today as you let us know through Drake samples that 'At Your Best' your 'Unforgettable'. You are love.
Then came the 'One In A Million' smash album and the superfriend days. These where some real heroes to marvel at. With technically tight and prolifically proficient producer Timbaland manning the boards and creating a new futuristic sound for the modern day, mainstream music and the urban sound was revolutionised. Even other genres that didn't mess with R&B wanted to crossover, as you and Timbo conducted a new music school. Tim, along with his promising partner in rhyme Magoo, his sensational younger brother Sebastian, the talented Tweet and of course the majestic, magnificent Missy Elliott, the genuine greatness of Ginuwine and the lyrical genius and sublime craft of Static Major (Rest in Peace, we miss you and have something for you too) we where down with the clique. Billboard dominance was guaranteed with this dynasty, but no star shone as bright as you.
With the 'Beats 4 Da Streets' you showed us you where 'Hot Like Fire'. 'A Girl Like You' gave us hit after hit with the title track lying on the bonnet with Timbaland in the driving seat and Missy riding passenger. Now 'Those Were The Days'. 'If Your Girl Only Knew' was a tell-all classic and mama knows this has inspired everyone, just ask Rahzel. You channelled another soul great with the Marvin marvel 'Got To Give It Up' alongside the slickest of all Rick's, while your '4 Page Letter' moved us to tears. You sealed a classic album with a kiss as you 'Came To Give Love' to the one you gave your heart to.
Then on your self-titled definitive album you really hit big sadly right when you where taken from us. 'Aaliyah' was all you and you stormed the charts with a real big three in 'Rock The Boat', 'More Than A Woman' and 'Try Again'. Huge, classic, timeless records that have set the tone and tempo for R&B records and artists for this decade and next generation and the rest to come. Not to forget your massive Timbaland collabo 'We Need A Resolution', your 'Loose Raps' with the seriously talented Static, your 'I Can Be' honesty, the 'Extra Smooth' funk or your beautiful ballads. 'I Care For You' was the realest devotion, 'Never No More' will last forever and your emotional spirit and resilience on 'I Refuse' could not be dragged away by wild horses. From Rolling Stone to the Grammy's you made it.
It wasn't just music and the charts you ruled, the box-office and movie scripts came pouring in through your already fan-letter full mailbox. 'Queen Of The Damned' saw you take the silver screen limelight, while you would have ruled 'The Matrix' sequels and taken the creative, envelope tearing franchise out this world and its realm. Still it was your duet with amazingly talented Asian icon Jet Li in the modern love story/action flick 'Romeo Must Die'. With two leading acts that in a Hollywood movie that weren't white you really broke down cultural barriers and from the movies scenes to the dancing with Li in the triumphant 'Try Again' video your chemistry was set with your collective charisma and genuine charm. You looked as incredible and appealing on screen as Jet's martial arts and just like Li you where more than the physical. With deeper, expressed emotion you showed us you could act too, and act well. Another star was born in another field. You where before your time and its tragic you where taken in your prime. You where running, you where soaring. Nobody could stop you. You where going to be bigger than you where in your life and death, but tragedy cut destiny cruelly short.
You also had a profound effect on another co-star; rapper DMX who you duetted with on the soundtracks cool, crossover collabo; 'Come Back In One Piece'. An effect so huge that a sobering statement from D began your 'Miss You' tribute video as he said "dearest, sweet Aaliyah, I have trouble accepting the fact that your gone, so I wont". We still don't as we watch this video today and everyone from Missy and Tweet to Toni Braxton and Jamie Foxx showed love. Still, above all X's tears hit home. You where really gone. Speaking of top rappers Jay-Z also took your moving 'Miss You' beat and gave an instrumental tribute to you, saying "All the estrogen's the darker texture you are the more intellectual/You are so professional our little purple star/Too good for earth you are (I miss you)". From Dame Dash to Diddy, the industry, music and the whole world beyond, you where and will always be loved. We don't need ten years or an awful anniversary to show you that we will always love and miss you. Thank you for the music and take good care. Rest peacefully. TIM DAVID HARVEY.