12 Of Aaliyah’s Most Iconic Hip-Hop Tracks
Aaliyah Haughton would have celebrated her 35th birthday today if she was still with us. With the voice of an angel, one could only imagine where Aaliyah’s ascending career would be if she reached her 30s.Though a R&B songstress, Aaliyah contributed her vocals to some rather dope hip-hop tracks in her day.
Here’s a compilation of some of her efforts that still sound amazing some decades later. Rest in peace, Aaliyah.—Cris Jones
“Come Back In One Piece” — DMX featuring Aaliyah
The second single from the Romeo Must Die soundtrack gave us the perfect combination of the gritty X in solid form with Aaliyah flowing over the Irv Gotti produced track.
“Back and Forth” — Aaliyah featuring R. Kelly
Aaliyah's debut single, "Back & Forth", topped the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for three weeks. A timeless cut that sparks nostalgia for anyone born in the '80s, don’t be surprised when you notice yourself bouncing your shoulders upon listening.
“A Girl Like You” — Aaliyah featuring Treach
Another track that epitomizes a mid-90s R&B and hip-hop collab. Naughty By Nature’s Treach’s bravado along with Aaliyah’s harmonizing makes for a great '90s cut.
“Queen B*tch” — Lil’ Kim featuring Aaliyah and The Notorious B.I.G.
One of the Queen Bee Lil’ Kim’s hardest tracks ever, off the Hard Core album, featured Aaliyah ever so slightly on the hook. Aaliyah was not asked to do much with the chorus, but she shines regardless.
“If Your Girl Only Knew (Remix)” — Aaliyah featuring Missy Elliott
The remix to the first single released from Aaliyah’s second studio album, One In A Million, featured the unmistakable Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott kicking some of her excellent flows. Aaliyah still dazzles throughout with her sassy lines directed at whoever the guy was that was trying to “play her” as she put it.
“Summer Bunnies (Remix)” — R. Kelly featuring Aaliyah
The R goes full rapper mode in this one, leaving the crooning exclusively to Aaliyah—and man, she sounds perfect. Play this at your summer time cookouts or pool parties and watch the fun commence.
“I Need You Tonight” — Junior M.A.F.I.A featuring Aaliyah
Before “Queen B*tch”, Aaliyah actually linked with Lil Kim and Junior M.A.F.I.A back in 1995. On the hook, Aaliyah does her own rendition of Lisa Lisa’s “I Wonder If I Take You Home” and she does it supremely.
“Live and Die For Hip Hop” — Kriss Kross featuring Aaliyah, Da Brat, Jermaine Dupri, and Mr. Black
Aaliyah always did a tremendous job of complementing a rapper’s bars with her vocals, and nothing is different here as she fills the gaps between the So So Def MCs’ verses.
“Night Riders (9th Wonder Remix)” — Boot Camp Clik featuring Aaliyah
Aaliyah’s soothing voice lingers throughout the track, acting almost as another instrument for the Brooklyn-bred rappers to rhyme over.
“Up Jumps Da Boogie” — Timbaland and Magoo featuring Aaliyah and Missy Elliott
This track was Timbaland and Magoo’s debut single off their 1997 Welcome To Our World album. If you could not withstand Tim and Mag’s verses, Missy and Aaliyah provided some audio that was worth listening.
“You Won’t See Me Tonight” — Nas featuring Aaliyah
Nas and Aaliyah go back and forth on this one, as she plays the role of a girlfriend who has had enough with the Queensbridge rapper’s antics. This 1999 track appeared on Nas’s third album, I Am….
“I Miss You (Remix)” — Aaliyah featuring Jay Z
The emotion in Jay’s bars could be felt as he crafted a letter in form of a remix to Aaliyah’s “I Miss You” after her untimely death. This one tugged at everyone’s heart when it dropped as Jay divulged special memories shared between the two and their friends.