It’s been more than a decade since Aaliyah Haughton died in a plane crash on Aug. 25, 2001, at 22, and 20 years since her 1994 debut, 'Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number.' Nonetheless, the singer has become the go-to muse for millennial R&B.
The begging begins about 55 seconds into "You're My Fantasy," the opening track on "Paula." Over gentle salsa strums, Robin Thicke pleads "please" seven times in a row to a woman whose absence feels ghostlike ("I can smell your perfume/-Y
Outside the windows of a 36th-floor conference-room suite at New York's Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the morning is gray and befit for April showers. Always the trendsetter, Usher has plucked from his wardrobe a navy blue military-style button-up adorned with gold clasps to complete his jeans-and-sneaker ensemble.