If ever there were anyone best entitled to speak on the posthumous Aaliyah LP and the legacy that the multi-faceted artist left behind, who better than her uncle and the CEO of Blackground Records, Barry Hankerson. In a recent interview with That Grape Juice, Hankerson tells of the label’s skepticism about going forth with the project and he discloses that the 16-track LP will be composed of material that the singer was working on before her untimely passing. Prior to concisely speaking on the Aaliyah biopic which is currently on hold, he also sheds light on how both Drake and Noah “40″ Shebib came to be named executive producers for the LP.
TGJ: Were you initially apprehensive about starting it?
Barry: You know what, we were a little (laughs).We were fearful of the response from the media, Aaliyah’s family and how the project would affect her legacy. It was an uneasy anticipation of what the future held.
TGJ: Young Money’s Drake and Noah Shebib have been named as the project’s executive producers, how did this arrangement come to be and how happy are you with the work they’ve produced for the album thus far?
Barry: Drake and Noah did an exceptional job with “Enough Said.”
The intent was to be creative with one song at first and see how the fans would react. We look forward to them hearing the rest of the album next year.
TGJ: Upon confirmation of the project’s arrival , there was come confusion as to whether Aaliyah’s mother and brother were in support of it, could you explain what that was about for those who don’t know… and let us know how they feel about it as it stands today.
Barry: We always expected an unpleasant welcome this album. Due to the fact we have control over the estate and authoritative over royalties, we will be moving forward with this album.
We never wanted the bad press that’s come with the album. The family might of made statements about us not supporting their “daughter,” but the fan support and peaceful intent behind it is the reason we’ve decided to go forth with it.
The Aaliyah Biopic is currently on hold until the Haughton family agree to go forward with it. Before the controversy Warner (who would fund the movie) wanted Keshia Chante to play the lead role, and Aaliyah friends play themselves. We can’t go forward until Aaliyah’s family agree to let us.
We’ve always been sympathetic to Aaliyah’s mourning, and we’ll always love the graceful and angelic girl she was to the Haughton family. To us, she’ll always be ‘baby girl.’
Read the full interview here.