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It’s been over 20 years since Aaliyah’s tragic passing in 2001 but her impact on culture is still as strong as ever. At long last, her music and official music videos were made available on digital formats last year, and they were just a reminder of how many artists she inspired.

The upcoming — and somewhat controversial —posthumous album is due out soon. But even without digging through the vaults, her recorded legacy stands as one of the best from her era, despite the fact that she only recorded three albums in her lifetime.

Take a look at the artists that have been influenced by Aaliyah’s career:



  • 1. Drake

    Drake has been very open about his obsession with the late R&B singer; he even has a tattoo of her on his back. He also was able to create with Aaliyah posthumously in the song “Enough Said.” The Toronto rapper has said that “Aaliyah had the biggest influence on my music.”

  • 2. Ciara

    Ciara and Aaliyah have been compared to one another for quite some time and Ciara made it known that a lot of her influence comes from the late singer. She spoke about Aaliyah’s authenticity in an interview with The Grape Juice blog back in 2011:

    “She was true to who she was and she didn’t seem to care about it. The core of her art to me is heavily, heavily urban based. When an artist’s music is so urban based, sometimes people like to take risks with artists like that. When you think about it, it really is pop, it really is cultural and that’s the one thing that I thought was cool about her music. It never felt like she was trying to reach across or do anything more than just keep that cool, soulful, heavy urban core about it. It wasn’t like she was trying to be anything more than who she was. I really respect that and I appreciate that.”

    You can hear Aaliyah’s influence in Ciara’s 2013 hit “Body Party.”

  • 3. Alicia Keys

    Alicia Keys credits Aaliyah for her 2003 hit “If I Ain’t Got You.”

    “I was on a plane and I think being on the plane and knowing she passed away after a plane crash, there was just this sentiment of being present in the moment and really like nothing else mattering but those that you love,” she recalled from her 2017 The Voice interview.

    “I think that that feeling was really present in my life at that time and really right in my face.”

    Listen to the interview above.

  • 4. J. Cole

    Before J. Cole was known for “going platinum with no features” he recalls the teenage crush he had on the late superstar. “It was like a little boy crush but it was a true crush,” Cole said in an interview back in 2011.  In her honor, the then-teenage Cole produced a beat named after her. “I remember slightly what the beat sounded like,” he says, “but that was my way to pay respect in my own little world, in my own room…”

  • 5. Sevyn Streeter

    Sevyn Streeter credits the R&B icon for her 2017 hit “Before I Do.” The influence of Aaliyah is very clear in the song as the singer definitively declares “If there were no Aaliyah there would be no Sevyn Streeter.”

  • 6. Normani

    In Normani’s single “Wild Side” featuring Cardi B, the singer pays homage to Aaliyah with a sample of her “One In A Million.” In an interview last year (see above), Normani reveals she was touched when she first began listening to the R&B icon.

  • 7. Jojo

    Jojo and Aaliyah were both signed to Blackground Records at a very young age and Jojo credits the late musician’s career trajectory in making her feel right at home.
    “That’s one of the reasons I felt so comfortable signing to Blackground Records, because they found Aaliyah when she was 14, and I signed to them when I was 12. So, they had experience in doing something that people said was impossible,” she told Vibe in 2016.