Drake's Aaliyah Project Stopped, As Producer Shebib 'Walked Away'
The would-be Aaliyah record of unreleased tracks from the late singer is staying on the shelf -- for good, this time. Production of the posthumous album, spearheaded by Noah "40" Shebib and Drake, has been halted, according to a new Vibe interview with Shebib.
"Aaliyah’s label, Blackground -- the Hankersons, her uncle and cousin -- came to me and said, if she was around, she’d want you to do this [posthumous] project," Shebib told Vibe of how the project first began. "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.'"
Aaliyah died in a tragic plane crash in 2001. Timbaland, the producer of her '90s hits, including "Try Again," has maintained in the media that Drake should not produce an album of new material unless both he and the singer's other former collaborator, Missy Elliott, are each involved. DMX, who co-starred with Aaliyah in the movie "Romeo Must Die" and recorded a song with her, has been critical of the project, while Lil Wayne called the project "an awesome collaboration."
"The world reacting to Drake’s involvement so negatively, I just wanted nothing to do with it," Shebib continued. "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."
Drake released "Enough Said" in August 2012, crediting the single as "Aaliyah featuring Drake."
"I was seven songs deep," Shebib explained. "[Aaliyah’s] mother saying, 'I don’t want this out' was enough for me. I walked away very quickly."
The cancellation news comes just after Drake recently posted a video to Instagram that previewed another collaboration. Watch the clip below:
The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to Drake for comment.
This article originally appeared on THR.com.