It’s hard to believe that 15 years ago on this day (Aug. 25), beloved singer Aaliyah passed away at the age of 22 in a tragic plane crash. With many of music’s elite including Drake and Chris Brown spinning Baby Girl’s vocals into songs like 2012’s “Enough Said” and 2013’s “Don’t Think They Know,” respectively, her influence on R&B and hip-hop continues to be heard.
Here, Billboard collected quotes from other esteemed acts who loved the R&B princess.
“We’ve had so many memorable times. My most memorable is when me, her and Tim wore outfits alike! It was burgundy Pony outfits to the awards. Mind you, Aaliyah was petite so her Pony outfit looked so cute on her, but I kept looking at mine during the awards whispering to her saying, “I feel like a big-ass pony for real!” And we laughed and laughed! Too many memories to state them all! If she was still with us, she would still be at the top. Because she always stayed pushing herself to be better.” [MTV]
“Aaliyah possessed a rare poise and light that comes about once in a generation. She created the blueprint for the modern day triple threat: a young woman keen to challenge herself, but never tainted by brand awareness- a truly iconic and natural trailblazer.” [As told to Billboard]
I’VE NEVER LOST A PARENT, A FRIEND, OR A LOVER BUT I WILL NEVER FORGET THIS DAY FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. I REMEMBER GETTING THE NEWS THAT YOU HAD PASSED AND IT CONNECTED WITH MY HEART LIKE A CLEAN SHOT FROM MUHAMMAD ALI. I WAS CRUSHED. NOT ONLY WAS I ONE OF YOUR BIGGEST FANS BUT I WAS TRULY IN LOVE WITH YOU. I LOVED THE WAY YOU CARRIED YOURSELF, THE WAY YOU DRESSED, THE CONFIDENCE WITH WHICH YOU ADDRESSED PASSION AND RELATIONSHIPS IN YOUR MUSIC. I SAID TO MYSELF THAT EVEN IF WE NEVER MET, I WANTED A WOMAN IN MY LIFE JUST LIKE YOU. I AM PAINED THAT WE WILL NEVER GET TO CONNECT NOW THAT MUSIC ENDED UP BEING MY CAREER PATH. BUT YOU SHOULD KNOW, WE ALL LISTEN TO YOU EVERYDAY AND WE REMAIN INSPIRED AND MOVED BY ALL THAT YOU’VE GIVEN THE WORLD. I HOPE I MAKE THE RIGHT LIFE CHOICES SO I CAN END UP IN HEAVEN WHERE I KNOW YOU REST YOUR HEAD. I’LL CONTINUE TO MAKE MUSIC IN YOUR HONOR UNTIL THE DAY WE FINALLY MEET. DINNER’S ON ME!
LOVE YOU ALWAYS AND FOREVER,
DRAKE [Rap Radar]
Ty Dolla $ign
“Aaliyah is one of my favorite artists, and One In A Million is one of my favorite albums ever. I can’t wait until there is another artist who is remotely close to the type of artist Aaliyah was, because I don’t think we’ve seen it yet.” [As told to Billboard]
“What I shared with u [is] ever sacred, everlasting [and] it’s pure and it will endure,” Jackson wrote. “I love u Aaliyah. #RIP” [Twitter]
— Janet Jackson (@JanetJackson) August 25, 2015
“When I first met Aaliyah—it time for the world to hear this, I’m gonna give a little secret—I was in love with her. I said, But I’m not… She just a baby, I’m old… I said to myself, ‘I’m just gonna be her brother.’ Oh man, I was fightin’, I was fightin’ a lot — a big war. But I loved Aaliyah.” [E! Online]
“Her presence will be felt long after all of us are dead… That’s the thing about a great artist. Music is timeless. Music will never die. She’ll never die. I think it’s only in death do we recognize a person’s true presence… But some people, when they’re gone, physically, they leave a void. And that’s definitely what happened with Aaliyah. She left an emptiness.” [The Boombox]