In a most terrible airplane crash, R&B artist and rising diva, Aaliyah, passed away on August 25, 2001. As with many musical artists, an album was released when her friends and collaborators had come to grips with what had happened. Miss You was the first, and iirc the only, single released from Aaliyah's posthumous album, I Care 4 U. The album featured 6 songs in various stages of completion, as Aaliyah was working on them for what would be her next album. The disc also featured several hits Aaliyah had made over her short, four album career.
Miss You is a soft track designed by beat-master extraordinaire, Timbaland. The original version of the song was focused on a lost love who went off to college far away from Aaliyah. She laments that he's gone and she doesn't feel right without her former lover in her life. She wonders aloud where he's been and what he's been up to since he left her; who he's been with and, more importantly, if her former lover misses her as much as she misses him. Aaliyah's voice is soft and tender, as she smoothly sings the first verse ...
Off to college
Yes you went away
Straight from high school
You up and left me
We were close friends
For one another
Now your gone and I'm lost without you here now
But I know I gotta live and make it somehow
Come back...to me
Can you...hear me (Callin')
Hear me...callin' (For you)
For you...'Cuz it's
It's been too long and I'm lost without you
What am I gonna do
Said I been needin' you, wantin' you
Wonderin' if ur the same and who's been with you
Is ur heart still mine
I wanna cry sometimes
I miss you
Even if Aaliyah was still living, Miss You would be an emotional track. The sentimental value of this song really comes out in the video. Directed by Darren Grant, the video features several artists who sing along with the words between different video clips of Aaliyah's other videos, mostly Rock The Boat and Try Again, and other shots of Baby Girl. Many of the people that made cameos in the video were not surprising; Timbaland, Missy Elliot, Mary J. Blige, Jaheim, even Big Tigger didn't seem out of place. However, the first time I saw the video, I must admit as being surprised to see Rough Ryder DMX showing his sadness at the loss of Aaliyah (in front of what looks like a Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle with a painting of Aaliyah's face on the side). Very tastefully done, the video stirs emotions of sadness and loss without going overboard on the cheese factor. Other artists appearing in this video are Lil' Kim, A.J. and Free from 106 and Park, actress Rosario Dawson, comedian Jamie Foxx, Tweet, talk show host Montel Williams and former MTV VJ Ananda Lewis.
If the original track and the video weren't enough to make you miss "Baby Girl" one last time, Jay-Z, made his own tribute to Aaliyah when he rapped over the cut on the remix. Hov's words don't read like a eulogy for the early demise of this fantastic woman. Nor does the Jigga-man give us a recounting of her life. However, Near the end of the track, Jay sums it up best when he rhymes, "We're not remembering your death, but we're celebrating your life."
Jay's first verse remembers the times he shared with Aaliyah. He starts the song by claiming there are already many people copying the things she's done. He then starts the tribute in earnest, recalling the parties and the silly things they did, like coming up with a food called Cereal Pie. The second verse is split into two different segments. In the first part Jay calls out his beef with Star, claiming that he is mad at Jay for him blasting them about what they said about Aaliyah. He sums up this half of the verse by claiming "Cuz of your memory I won't bring it to pistols." In the second half of the verse, Jigga remembers that the song is not about him and his issues. He talks up Aaliyah, mentioning how she would read The Seed Of The Soul and how God made her too perfect for this world, "All the estrogen the darker texture you are // The more intellectual you are // So professional our little purple star // Too good for Earth you are".
In verse three, Jay-Z expands the track to cover several other legendary Hip Hop artists who have passed on recently. He shouts out Notorious B.I.G., and Tupac Shakur before talking about how they're imitated by several rappers, old and new. While blasting those biters copying those famous styles, Jay switches it up and praises the work of Chris Wallace and Tupac Shakur.
... y'all left your paws
Footprints on the game hood ain't been the same
Feeling ain't been in music hooks ain't been the same
But I'm doing what I can man and try to follow y'all memory lane man
Big you be ashamed to see New York gangbang
Pac you feel the same thing they use your name in vain
But I guess that's the issue
And it proves how much, niggas really miss you
Jigga finishes up his remembrance with more shout outs, this time to Hip Hop pioneers Jam Master Jay, DJ Scott La Rock. The track fades out while Aaliyah repeats "I can't do a thing without you // Wondering if your the same and who's been with you // I miss you." Jay sounds sincere and one can tell by listening to the song that Jay is doing this to create something special to remember Aaliyah by, and not something to put more cash in his pockets. While the original is enough to instill feelings of sadness in the listener, Jigga's remix is even more touching and soulful than Aaliyah's tender original. A moving tribute to an artist who was ready to blow to the top off not just the music industry, but Hollywood as well. Aaliyah passed away and the tender age of 22. She was slated to play the part of Niobe in both The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.
I can't admit to being a huge Aaliyah fan. I don't own any of her albums, but I've heard most of her singles. She was a true artist with a beautiful voice. I do know one thing though, no one misses Aaliyah. I think it's safe to say that we all miss you, Baby Girl.
Lyrics for Miss You came from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/aaliyah/missyou.html
Lyrics for Miss You (Remix) featuring Jay-Z from http://ohhla.com/anonymous/misc/r_and_b/miss_rmx.ali.txt
Rock On The Net: Aaliyah - http://www.rockonthenet.com/artists-a/aaliyah_main.htm
AALIYAH.COM - http://aaliyah.com/