“Poison,” which also features Canadian singer-songwriter The Weeknd, was unveiled on Friday, marking her first release since 2012’s “Enough Said.”
Aaliyah sings the lines: “How can I explain myself to you? Questions keep lurking through my mind. Is it the lover for the time? I’ve given my heart, my joy, my soul to you. If it is real, I sure can’t see.”
The record serves as the first single from Aaliyah’s upcoming posthumous album, “Unstoppable,” which her uncle and former manager Barry Hankerson confirmed in August will be released next year.
Born Aaliyah Dana Haughton, the New York native was at the height of her musical career when she died in a plane crash in August 2001, aged just 22.
In the wake of her death, she won two posthumous awards at the 2002 American Music Awards, sold millions of records, and was credited with helping redefine R&B.
The Weeknd previously sampled her “Rock the Boat” on his song “What You Need,” off his 2011 mixtape “House of Balloons.”
“Poison” comes months after Aaliyah’s music catalog arrived on streaming services
for the first time. Back in September, her 2001 self-titled record, which includes the timeless songs “Try Again,” “Rock the Boat,” and “We Need a Resolution,” was released on Spotify.
The original Blackground Records, which released the majority of Aaliyah’s music, was owned by Hankerson, who is also overseeing new label Blackground Records 2.0.
During an appearance on Atlanta radio station V-103 in August, Hankerson said “Unstoppable” would likely be the final new Aaliyah project, as the label had “exhausted our unpublished music.”
He added that he hoped that people would sample parts of songs they like to “express themselves as artists” and “keep her music going.”
In the two decades since her death, the fascination with Aaliyah’s music and laid-back, edgy style has intensified.
In 2012, hip-hop star Drake introduced a new generation of music lovers to her work after he and Noah “40” Shebib helped complete her posthumous track “Enough Said.”
Prior to the release, Drake — who has an Aaliyah tattoo — referred to her as one of the biggest influences on his career.
“I just found comfort in all Aaliyah’s music and her melody choices and the things that she talks about,” he told music website Soul Culture in 2011. “And the way she conveyed all these amazing emotions but never got too sappy.”
In 2014, her standout vocals appeared on Chris Brown’s track “Don’t Think They Know.”