Aaliyah’s most popular works will be available on streaming platforms starting this month, but her estate continues to undergo a legal battle with her uncle, Barry Hankerson, who signed her when she was 12.
She was one of the most influential R&B artists of the 90s and early 2000s, with hits like “Back and Forth,” (1994), “If Your Girl Only Knew” (1996) and “Try Again” (2000), before she died at 22 in a plane crash 20 years ago.
Blackground Records 2.0, founded by Hankerson, posted on its website that “Aaliyah is coming.”
The label, through a distribution deal with the independent music company Empire, will re-release 17 albums from its catalog on streaming platforms, CD and vinyl over the next few months beginning Aug. 20
The majority of Aaliyah’s output, including “One in a Million,” “Aaliyah,” and the “Romeo Must Die” soundtrack, as well as two posthumous collections, will be accessible to fans.
Aaliyah’s estate released a statement via Instagram opposing the releases, stating that they’ve endured “shadowy tactics of deception” and would continue to “defend…her legacy lawfully and justly.”
A lawyer for the estate, Paul V. LiCalsi, said in a statement, “For almost 20 years, Blackground has failed to account to the estate with any regularity in accordance with her recording contracts. In addition, the estate was not made aware of the impending release of the catalog until after the deal was complete and plans were in place.”
A representative for Blackground said the estate “will receive everything that it is entitled to” and that a royalty payment had been made earlier this year, according to Billboard.