January 8, 2014


Drake Producer Noah "40" Shebib Talks Leaving Aaliyah Project

Kevin Mazur/AMA2012/WireImage
Kevin Mazur/AMA2012/WireImage

Posthumously released tracks are rarely without controversy, especially when it's a reworking or re-imagination of a revered artist's legacy. In 2012, Drake came under fire for "collaborating" with Aaliyah on "Enough Said," while rumors at the time pegged the Canadian rapper as producing an entire posthumous album of the singer, who died in a plane crash in 2001.

In a new interview with Vibe, producer and longtime Drake collaborator Noah "40" Shebib revealed that he was asked to produce the album, but bowed out after all the negative reaction to "Enough Said.""Aaliyah’s label Blackground came to me and said if she was around she’d want you to do this [posthumous] project," said the producer. "I’ve been obsessed with Aaliyah forever, and I know Drake has his relationship with her. But that opportunity was mine. Drake said, 'Can I do it with you?' and I was like, 'Of course, we’ll do it together.'

"The world reacting to Drake’s involvement so negatively, I just wanted nothing to do with it. That was a very sad experience for me. I was naïve to the politics surrounding Aaliyah’s legacy and a bit ignorant to Timbaland’s relationship and everybody else involved and how they’d feel. Tim said to me 'Don’t stop, make the album.' I think that was Tim taking the position of, 'I’m not going to stop you. If you’re not going to do it, that’s your decision.' But ultimately, I wasn’t comfortable and didn’t like the stigma. I was seven songs deep. [Aaliyah’s] mother saying 'I don’t want this out' was enough for me. I walked away very quickly."

Missy Elliott and Timbaland both claimed they weren't contacted by Aaliyah's representatives to appear on the potential album. In June, Drake's rival Chris Brown released "Don't Think They Know," his own collaboration with the deceased singer.