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I clearly remember August 25th, 2o01.

I, an 8th grader with an insatiable appetite for music, was at home enjoying my Saturday evening when Kurt Loder from MTV News reported that Aaliyah had died in a plane crash on her way back from being on location for a video shoot.

Initial reaction: disbelief. Then shock. Then sadness, tears…etc.

I had never cried over the passing of someone that I did not personally know until that day. Something about Aaliyah’s personality radiated beauty, an inherent sweetness, and an innocent sexiness that was enviable… or in my case, admirable.

At just 22 years old, Aaliyah’s career was just beginning to really take flight. She’d just released her 3rd album, the and she was in production on her second major motion picture. The opportunities seemed limitless. That’s probably why she’s left an indelible impact on so many of my peers.

Today marks 9 years since her tragic passing, but her music is still carries weight in our culture. One of the more prominent examples comes in the form of Drake’s song “Unforgettable” which samples Aaliyah’s rendition of the Isley Brother’s classic “At Your Best (You Are Love)”

Continue reading to check out Drake’s letter to Aaliyah, and my favorite Aaliyah song!

Drake sent this letter over to the good folks at RapRadar when asked to share his thoughts:

Dear Dana,

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,


Not quite sure why he decided to address her by her middle name, but nonetheless a lovely gesture from Mr. Graham.

Now just a week away from my 22nd birthday, I am even more inspired by Aaliyah’s work. She’s yet another example of a young person making a positive impact on the world with their unique gift and talent, becoming successful, but even more importantly, significant.

If you’re looking for a great compilation of all of Aaliyah’s biggest hits plus some unreleased tracks that you’ve probably never heard… you definitely want to download this…just click the album artwork below:

And finally…

Here’s my favorite Aaliyah track -“It’s Whatever” from the album “Aaliyah”