In an interview published on vibe.com today (January 7), Noah “40” Shebib says he was approached by Aaliyah's family to work on a posthumous Aaliyah album that has never been released.
"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,” 40 says to vibe.com. "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.’”
In 2012, it was reported that Drake would be an executive producer on an upcoming Aaliyah project. Timbaland and others criticized Drake's involvement with the project. "A lot of these rappers out here are awful," Timbaland said in July. "Chris Brown got a record [with Aaliyah]. It won't work. Drake could do a record with Aaliyah. It ain't going to work.”
Noah "40" Shebib Says Comment From Aaliyah's Mother Made Him Walk Away From Shelved Posthumous LP
Shebib says in his vibe.com interview that comments from other artists impacted his view of the posthumous Aaliyah album.
"The world reacting to Drake’s involvement so negatively, I just wanted nothing to do with it,” he says. "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. We released ['Enough Said'], but I was seven songs deep. [Aaliyah’s] mother saying, 'I don’t want this out' was enough for me. I walked away very quickly.”
In his September CRWN interview, Drake discussed the now-scrapped Aaliyah project.
"Before things went downhill with it, I was actually working with my dream collaboration," Drake said of his work on an Aaliyah posthumous album. "Me and 40 were working on this Aaliyah album that kind of got blown out of proportion. There are records with me and Aaliyah that no one has ever heard and they're really good."
Drake addressed why he felt the plans for the album were scrapped.
"I think the press got out of hand," Drake said. "They maybe just had a different vision for it. I'm not sure. It was sounding great to me. Whatever they end up doing with it, I wish them the best of luck. There might be a record with me on there. I'm not sure."