Blackground Records reached out to Billboard.biz to officially confirm that Drake and Noah ’40′ Shebib will be co-executive producing the new Aaliyah album alongside Blackground.
Aaliyah’s cousin Jomo Hankerson, who runs Blackground with his father Barry Hankerson, spoke with Billboard.biz about the posthumous release, confirming that an album is in fact in the works. Using 16 unreleased songs and “fragments” from Aaliyah’s archive, Blackground hopes to release the LP by year’s end, enlisting “contemporary artists” to color the project and help repackage her vocals.
Hankerson had this to say regarding the Aaliyah’s fans anticipating an album:
“We really felt like it was time. There’s a real new generation that doesn’t know her necessarily, and we wanted to continue her musical legacy with this new generation,” explains Hankerson. “That’s one of the reasons why we wanted to do very contemporary music. We didn’t want to make it a nostalgic project; we already did that with the ‘I Care 4 U’ album. The idea was to release new music for her diehard fans, and also reintroduce her music to a new generation that doesn’t really understand how much influence she has in the music that they’re listening to today.”
Hankerson denies that Drake is contracted to executive produce the project (he says that he and his father will executive produce the album, but that they are considering adding others to the fold), but says that he will appear on “more of the records” and that Shebib is “heavily involved” in reshaping the music.
While the album is in the early stages, Hankerson confirms that Timbaland and Missy Elliott will participate in assembling the LP. “Timbaland will be involved with this project. One of the records that we had that was never released was a Missy record that we obviously are going to be refreshing,” says Hankerson, who did not clarify if Timbaland has already produced songs for the project.