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Aaliyah's 15 Best Deep Cuts & Album Tracks

In honor of the late singer, who passed away 16 years ago today, we look back at her most underrated tunes

1 / 15

"Down With the Clique"

This gem is lifted from Aaliyah's 1994 debut album, Age Ain't Nothing But a Number, and finds the then-15-year-old embodying an effortless swagger that guys twice her age could only dream of having. The singer's mellow, deep voice throughout the song would become her signature later in her career.

2 / 15

"I Can Be"

Aaliyah's third and final album found her shifting away from the expected R&B/soul sounds, as she dove into opera, rock, jazz, hip-hop and more. "I Can Be" is one of the LP's standouts, thanks to her controversial storytelling of being the "other woman" over a rumbling electric guitar production.

3 / 15

"Best Friends" with Missy Elliott

Missy Elliott and Aaliyah were not only frequent collaborators, but also very close friends. "Best Friends," taken from Missy's 1997 debut Supa Dupa Fly, is a smooth retelling of just how much the two ladies have each other's back.

4 / 15

"Loose Rap"

"Loose Rap" is often regarded as fan favorite, thanks to its gloomy underwater production combined with Baby Girl's "I'm too cool for you" vocals. It's a shame it didn't go on to be an official single, but its chilling vibes continues to influence artists like DrakeTinashe and Rihanna.

5 / 15

"4 Page Letter"

"4 Page Letter" was the third single from Aaliyah's sophomore album One in a Million, but it unfortunately failed to get a lot radio play or chart love (it peaked at No. 59 on Billboard's Hot 100). Nevertheless, it still remains one of the best ballads from her discography. The video, whose concept was created by Aaliyah's brother Rashad, drove the romantic message home.

6 / 15

"Hot Like Fire" (Timbaland Remix)

The original "Hot Like Fire" from One in a Million was a nice slow jam, but let's face it: Timbaland's epic remix the following year was infinitely better! The producer added his magic hip-hop-infused touch to the steamy track, which was anchored by Aaliyah's laidback vocals.

7 / 15

"Everything's Gonna Be Alright"

"Everything's Gonna Be Alright" is an often overlooked track from Aaliyah's second album, but its grooving charm calls for a drink in one hand (and your boo in the other) at a bumping basement party.

8 / 15

"Come Back in One Piece" feat. DMX

Aaliyah's musical versatility made it easy for her to collaborate with rappers, and her "Come Back in One Piece" collaboration with DMX will always be a stand out. The 2000 Romeo Must Die soundtrack cut features a sample from '70s funk band Parliament and balances DMX's thuggish flow with the singer's honey-sweet melody.

9 / 15

"What If"

The singer was a huge fan of rock music, especially bands like Nine Inch Nails. Their industrial metal influence rips through her self-titled album closer, "What If." Aaliyah's intimidating vocals, the trippy frog croaks and the downright nasty guitar riffs resulted in her most experimental tracks.

10 / 15

"Read Between The Lines"

This Latin-influenced cut from Aaliyah highlighted the singer's lower register, which she typically traded for her well-known falsetto. But her deep, almost gravel-like vocal tone is what made this song (which is about confronting a dishonest lover) so dope.

11 / 15

"All I Need"

"All I Need," from the posthumous I Care 4 U compilation album (released in 2002), is also a beautiful example of Aaliyah's deeper tone. Its simplistic production and romantic lyrics make it a breeze to listen to.

12 / 15

"Don't Know What To Tell Ya"

This song, which was meant to be featured on Aaliyah, featured Timbaland's signature Middle Eastern-influenced string production that made Aaliyah's story about a failing relationship all the more dramatic. "Don't compare me to your last one / I can't help that she was a fast one, a sassy one / I'm a classy one," will always be a stinger (and a good subtweet).

13 / 15

"I Don't Wanna"

"I Don't Wanna," featured on the soundtracks for 1999's Next Friday and 2000's Romeo Must Die, is quintessential Aaliyah. The singer's pleading vocals and undying love for her man brought tears to my eyes when I first heard it on the radio at 14 and continues to tug at my heartstrings to this day.

14 / 15

"Come Over"

Aaliyah's tender vocals is what makes "Come Over," the third single from I Care 4 U, so heartwarming. Her unique falsetto from her teen days is still there, but after a few years of experience and relationships it sounds stronger and more pure.

15 / 15

"Are You Feelin' Me?"

"Are You Feeling Me?" was another Romeo Must Die soundtrack tune that was overshadowed by the success of the Grammy-nominated "Try Again." But its fiery production, commanding lyrics and grumbling vocals had all the potential to become a single in its own right.

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Photo of the day

Apr 2: Basket-Bros

Currently on his 'The Man of the Woods' tourJustin Timberlake brought out a special guest for his Cleveland show. LeBron James surprised concertgoers by showing up alongside Timberlake and taking a shot on stage. On Friday, the singer was also seen cheering on LeBron during the Pelicans and Cavaliers game. James gave a shout out on Instagram, "My brother @justintimberlake showed up and showed out last night at the Q! One of the greatest to ever do it in my lifetime and still going strong."