Timbaland and Missy Elliott deny any role in posthumous Aaliyah album

Pair will not participate in LP helmed by Drake and Noah Shebib

Two of Aaliyah's best-known collaborators have denied they will play any role in the late singer's forthcoming album, helmed by Drake. Timbaland and Missy Elliott "will not be participating" in the posthumous LP, they said on Monday, despite recent claims by the project's label, Blackground Records.

"Although Missy and Timbaland always strive to keep the memory of their close friend alive, we have not been contacted about the project, nor are there any plans at this time to participate," Mona Scott-Young, Elliott's manager, said. "We've seen the reports surfacing that they have been confirmed to participate but that is not the case. Both Missy and Timbaland are very sensitive to the loss still being felt by the family, so we wanted to clear up any misinformation being circulated."

Last week, Drake unveiled a new single, Enough Said, incorporating his own raps and an unreleased vocal by Aaliyah, who died in 2001. The song was produced by his longtime associate, Noah "40" Shebib. Blackground, which was founded by Aaliyah's uncle, confirmed an entire album is in the works, executive-produced by Drake and Shebib. "The idea [is] to release new music for her die-hard fans, and also reintroduce her music to a new generation that doesn't really understand how much influence she has [had]," Blackground's Jomo Hankerson, Aaliyah's cousin, told Billboard. Shebib is "heavily involved" with the music, he said, and Drake will appear on several more songs.

Immediately, fans were asking about Elliott and Timbaland. The two musicians were crucial to Aaliyah's best-known album, 1996's One in a Million, and have been outspoken defenders of her legacy. In a radio interview, Timbaland said he had not been approached by Drake or Blackground. But Hankerson insisted both artists were in talks with the label. "A lot of [it] is still up in the air, but I can tell you that Timbaland will definitely be involved," he said. "Missy will definitely be involved."

Or maybe not. Instead of joining up with Drake and Shebib, Elliott and Timbo seem to have allied themselves with Aaliyah's brother, who has opposed the record. "There is no official album being released and supported by the family," Rashad Haughton wrote on Facebook . "We have nothing but love and respect for [Aaliyah's] memory and for her loved ones left behind still grieving her loss," Elliott and Timbaland said. "Tim and I carry Aaliyah with us every day, like so many of the people who love her. She will always live in our hearts."

Aaliyah was 22 when she died in a plane crash in the Bahamas. After three albums and seven top 20 singles, her first posthumous LP, I Care 4 U, reached No 4 in the UK.


Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

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