97 Words: ‘Aaliyah’ defined an artist and a summer, 15 years ago

July 7, 2001.

Snakes. That’s my first memory of Aaliyah’s self-titled third album, lead off by “We Need a Resolution” with its sensual, snake-filled video. Next, is summer: released in the heat of July 2001, on the 7th, Aaliyah featured slinky jams (“Loose Rap,” “Rock the Boat,”), summertime fineness (“It’s Whatever,” “Those Were the Days”), gorgeous ballads (“I Care 4 U,” “Never No More,” “I Refuse”), genre straddling rock-tinged cuts (“”I Can Be,” “What If”) and her R&B/hip-hop crossovers (“Resolution,” “More Than A Woman”). It was a futuristic, ahead-of-its-time summertime soundtrack that also, unfortunately, became synonymous with summertime sadness just over a month later.

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