By Rob Markman with reporting by Sway Calloway
Few people got the chance to work as closely with Aaliyah as Missy Elliott did, and Missy remembers nothing but laughter during her friendship with the late singer.“Aaliyah, she was like a comedian. She always wanted to laugh,” Missy reminisced when she appeared on “RapFix Live” on Wednesday.
Missy remembered her and her production partner Timbaland being nervous when they first worked with Baby Girl on her 1996 album One in a Million. At the time, Aaliyah was riding high off of her 1994 debut Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number and Missy and Timbaland were just starting out. “We were nervous when we first worked with her because nobody knew who we was,” Missy said remembering that she feared Aaliyah would be a diva. “She came in and was so warming; she made us immediately feel like family.”
These days, Aaliyah’s name is marred in a bit of controversy, surrounding a reported posthumous album. Drake, who is a huge Aaliyah fan, is said to be heavily involved in the LP and even appears on the first single, “Enough Said,” a song that Missy hasn’t been able to bring herself to hear. Drizzy’s involvement has seemed to anger some who feel that since the YMCMB rapper never knew Aaliyah, he shouldn’t be heavily involved.
Missy says she has never been contacted to contribute to the supposed LP, but when the subject came up on “RapFix,” she chose to deflect. “I don’t even want to talk about that because I’m being asked a lot,” she said sincerely. “It’s very sensitive, but because she represented positive energy. She was positive. I don’t ever want to bring controversy around her name.”
Instead Elliott, chose to remark on the light that her friend brought to her life, describing her as loving, family-oriented and “always happy.”
Missy recalled one funny story where Aaliyah used costume teeth that she got from a joke store to practice lines for her 2002 film “Queen of the Damned.” “She had them teeth in, practicing her lines for ‘Queen of the Damned,’ ” she said, laughing at the thought. “It was just so funny to me because I was like, if people could see this. She was a character, always happy.”