Aaliyah’s Uncle, BlackGround Records’ CEO, Barry Hankerson Clarifies Posthumous Project with Drake

By 22, Aaliyah had become one of the most celebrated entertainers of her time- the long running poster child for cross-over R&B.

Now, more than a decade after her passing, her former label ‘BlackGround Records‘ ready the release of her first posthumous album, to be executive produced by ‘Practice’ Prince Drake and his long time collaborator Noah “40” Shebib.

So, ever eager to serve the answers you want the questions to, That Grape Juice met with BlackGround CEO Barry Hankerson for a tell all interview on the controversial release.

TGJ ( David Asante): Hey Barry, thanks for agreeing to speak with us.

Barry: Thanks! We’re excited to talk about the album.

TGJ: Alright, let’s get started.How recently did BlackGround decide to launch a posthumous LP by Aaliyah and what- if anything- triggered the idea?

Barry: Aaliyah left a huge fan base behind when she passed and her legacy really does live through the music, but more importantly her fans. For us, it was only right to show our appreciation to these fans for supporting her for all these years.

TGJ: Were you initially apprehensive about starting it?

Barry:  You know what, we were a little (laughs).We were fearful of the response from the media, Aaliyah’s family and how the project would affect her legacy. It was an uneasy anticipation of what the future held.

TGJ: Young Money’s Drake and Noah Shebib have been named as the project’s executive producers, how did this arrangement come to be and how happy are you with the work they’ve produced for the album thus far?

Barry: Drake and Noah did an exceptional job with “Enough Said”.

The intent was too be creative with one song at first and see how the fans would react. We look forward to them hearing the rest of the album next year.

TGJ: Likewise. So, could you run us through the creative process, exactly how are the new songs being crafted and how much unreleased material do you have to work with?

Barry: Sure. We’re working with 16 never before heard songs that were part of an album she was recording before she died. Fans will hear the same angelic tone they loved so much in these new songs…

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