Released: May 24th 1994
Recorded: September 1993 – April 1994
Label: Blackground/Jive/BMG Records
Here we have the very first album that jump started Aaliyah's career with her main hit singles Back & Fourth, At Your Best (You Are Love) and Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. Two more singles were also released internationally which were Down With The Clique and The Thing I like. When you listen to the album, you get a real feel good vibe for what the 90's was all about in terms of musicality, fashion and overall peoples outlook on life with the lyrical content. Personally, when I listen to this album it takes me back to that place of when I was younger, where life was simple and love was pure and honest.
Now obviously as you guys all know, this was during her more tom-boyish days where she was still finding herself at such a young age. I have always admired this about Babygirl, as she never relied on her 'womanly assets' to gain attention, she let the music speak for itself. Even being fully clothed and covered, (minus her stomach, which to be honest...if I had abs like hers I would want to show them off too!) she still had that 90's swag which was classy and effortless. Her trademark look with her sultry eyes, half peaking through the shades was instant to catch on with others in no time. Above all else, she was naturally sexy in her own way, with her glowing sex-appeal of confidence! (Take note ladies!)
Now, there was however a lot of controversy within this album where a lot of speculation was spreading in regards to Babygirls relationship with R.Kelly. Since R.Kelly was one of the main producers of this album, including mentoring and being the lead song writer, he brought a lot of his 'New Jack Swing' sound during the production process. So throughout this time, there was obviously no doubt they had a close relationship, since they worked on a lot of songs together. Essentially, R.Kelly was showing Babygirl the ropes of what being a singer was all about, but at the same time I would not condemn the actions of someone older taking advantage of someone young and vulnerable, you're just asking for trouble... case closed. To Aaliyah's credit, she handled interviews very well when questioned on this, showing that if you smile and stay positive no one can really break you down, no matter how difficult the situation may be.
Aaliyah's description of the album:
She felt that the songs "Came at you kind of tough, a bit edgy, Hip-Hop, but the vocals can be very soothing". She also added that "Lyrically I want things to be different".