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One Artist, One Producer: What Happened?

Today is yet another anniversary of Aaliyah’s tragic passing. I don’t know about you, but I for one am not a fan of memorializing the fallen on their “death date,” and would much rather celebrate their lives on the days it began for them (in Aaliyah’s case, it would be January 16).

With that said, if Aaliyah was still alive today, a lot of these pop schmags wouldn’t even make it to YouTube, much less the majors. I’m looking at you, Teairra Mari.

Anyways, Aaliyah was one of urban music’s greatest enigmas. Exuding sex appeal, yet only revealing enough through her midriff-and-baggy jeans attire. Marred in controversy while working with one Robert Sylvester Kelly her career remained at the tipping point until she linked up with Timbaland (the pre-“suicide”-slash-Barry Bonds Workout Plan Timbo), who equally complimented and challenged her airy style with his spaced-out backdrops. Before tragically passing just weeks before 9/11, she had seemingly hit her creative stride.

Timbaland’s works with Aaliyah will forever remain some of his greatest records. It’s proof positive of the end result of when two kindred musical spirits match wits with each other, bouncing ideas off of each other in a musical version of Pong. It also makes me long for the days when artists would solely use only one producer for their entire album. Dr. Dre did it to perfection for the West, so much so that virtually everything hip hop related from my former home can be Six Degrees of Kevin Baconed back to him. Before whatever issues they had, both Gang Starr and Pete Rock and CL Smooth held it down for the East. Clipse and Kelis stayed with the “Neptunes sound.” Kanye’s first album was nearly self-produced (if you don’t count Evidence of Dilated Peoples helping him out on “Last Call”). What used to be a common practice happens every once in a while now, and it leaves me to wonder why this does not happen as much.

From a financial perspective, one would think that having one producer to provide the entire sound of your album would be a hell of a lot cheaper than getting 50-11 different producers to do it. Instead of blaming online mediums (*ahem*) for the decline in net returns some artists should focus more on cutting production costs, and I feel that working solely with one producer definitely helps matters.

The increase of the “two producer, one beat” trend – something I mentioned yesterday – could also contribute to the lack of artists working with one producer, and with good reason. I mean, why not bring a pair of super-producers together to work on one song? The possibilities are endless, and the end results could be something spectacular… or become a clusterfuck of an aural mess. Having one producer eliminates virtually any kind of potential conflict, as both can work together upgrading each other.

While the “one producer, one album” trend isn’t quite extinct (I’m personally waiting on Rah Digga and Nottz’ album to drop in a few weeks), I just wish it would happen more. Until then, though, I still have my Aaliyah-Timbaland songs to tide me over.

“We Need A Resolution” >

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