The late R’n’B singer Aaliyah was one of the most esteemed mainstream vocalists at the turn of the millennium. Emerging with the help of figures such as R Kelly, Timbaland and Missy Elliott, her music sat atop the charts for years, and she was a prominent musician.
Aaliyah (real name Aaliyah Daughton) has an illustrious discography with a vast array of material, all of which is phenomenal. The singer’s debut album, Age Ain’t Nothin’ But a Number, is a classic. However, the 1994 project was executively produced by the disgraced R Kelly, who married 15-year-old Aaliyah three months after the album’s release. As such many find the body of work uncomfortable listening.
Following her debut, in 1995, Aaliyah ended her contract with R Kelly at Jive and signed with Atlantic Records, where she began working extremely closely with superproducer Timbaland (real name Timothy Mosley) for her sophomore project. The beatmaker produced nearly all the tracks on the body of work, and Missy Elliott helped co-write several singles.
Entitled One in a Million, the project put Aaliyah on the map. The album’s fifth single, ‘The One I Gave My Heart To,’ peaked at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the vocalist’s first top 10 entry. However, it was Daughton’s third album that made her a star.
Between 1996 and 2001, the vocalist met all kinds of industry figures, including Jay-Z and Damon Dash, who would eventually have a relationship with the singer. With the help of Mosely and his futuristic, forward-thinking backing tracks, Aaliyah’s self-titled 2001 album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. However, although all of the project’s songs were exceptional, Daughton had a favourite.
Some of the highly well-known tracks, such as ‘More Than A Woman’ and ‘Try Again’ were popular with fans, but during an interview on the Aaliyah: Behind the Scenes DVD, Daughton unveiled that her favourite song was the ballad ‘I Care 4 U.’
The song was written in its entirety by Missy Elliot, but it resonated with Daughton. On the DVD, while speaking about the body of work, Aaliyah stated, “My favourite song on the album, it’s hard to pick because I love em’ all, but If I had to pick one right now, I’d say ‘I Care 4 U’ because that song is just gorgeous to me.”
She continued, “It’s five years old — Tim[baland] and Missy [Elliott] did that song right when I finished One in a Million, and we really wanted to put it on that album. So we put it aside and waited, and it doesn’t sound like it’s five years old at all. It’s just classic, it’s timeless, and I like what the song is saying — it’s a female being the strong person in a relationship.”
You can hear ‘I Care 4 U’ in the viedo below.