"The name Aaliyah has many meanings. It's a name that stems from one of Islam's and Arabic's most exalted names-- Ali. The female name carries the same weight as the male, if not more. It can mean anything from "most honored friend" to "highest power." Today, as we celebrate the release of R&B singer, model, actress, and visionary, Aaliyah Haughton's last self-titled album, those traits and meanings still manifest themselves in real life.

Aaliyah, the self-titled album that debuted as number 2 on the Billboard 200 upon release, is 16 years old today. The album was unprecedented in many ways. "Rock the Boat", released as a posthumous single, premiered on BET's Access Granted; becoming the most viewed and highest rated episode in the history of the show. "More than a Woman" reached number one on the UK singles chart making Aaliyah the first female deceased artist to reach number one on the UK singles chart. Here at the Mel Shop we honor the trail blazers who's shoulders we stand on-- Aaliyah being one of the many strong women we see as a crucial influencer in building our own dreams both in and out of creative fields.

The album itself exists as a manifestation of Aaliyah's dynamic personality, talents, and musical style. Every song remains a testament to the fact that the woman really could do anything she decided to. Whether it be a deep rolling beat to stunt her raw femininity or a sweet melody to showcase her one of a kind voice, the album showcases a diversity that only Queen Akasha herself could muster. As some of the O.G.’s of the game worked on the self-titled album, we decided our readers would love to see how they felt about meeting Aaliyah and working with her. Thanks to our friends at Fuse and Vibe, here are some great articles that deal with everything from J-Dub being nervous to talk to her, to how her musical style developed as the album progressed.



Since Background Records has yet to allow the music’s digital release, we decided to make it easy on y’all and throw down the youtube videos below. And to Aaliyah herself, you forever are missed and kept alive by the transcendental quality of your work and music. Rest in power Queen. We’ll keep fighting your good fight."