ALBUM THROWBACK: AALIYAH | ULTIMATE AALIYAH (2005)
Ultimate Aaliyah is a posthumous box set by singer Aaliyah. It was released in selected countries on May 10, 2005. The box set's first disc (tracks one through 16) is a greatest hits collection. The second, dubbed "Are You Feelin’ Me?" house songs from soundtracks alongside material with Timbaland. The third is a DVD with the documentary The Aaliyah Story. Unfortunately, "Ultimate Aaliyah" was a commercial failure due to its limited release, peaking at number 32 on the UK Albums Chart and selling only 75,000 copies worldwide. "Ultimate Aaliyah" adequately represents the shortened career of a tremendous talent who benefited from some of the best songwriting and production work by Timbaland, Missy Elliott, and R. Kelly. Casual fans will get most of the hits; collectors will be pleased to plug some gaps and get the documentary as a bonus.
Unlike Aaliyah's previous releases, "Ultimate Aaliyah" was released independently by Blackground Records, without the involvement of a major label. The album consists of three discs–two CDs and a DVD featuring the 60-minute documentary The Aaliyah Story compiled of promo clips, interviews, and special features, including MTV special, MTV News Now: The Life of Aaliyah, a Tribute to Aaliyah, Aaliyah's VH1 Behind the Music installment, and her E! True Hollywood Story episode. In 2017, Craze Productions leaked the album on streaming services for 18 hours, and within minutes, "Ultimate Aaliyah" skyrocketed to number four on the iTunes charts. Hours later, the album was taken down off sites by Aaliyah's uncle and manager, Barry Hankerson, and a lawsuit to Craze Productions was filed. The same company earlier issued her previous compilation album "I Care 4 U," released in 2002 digitally, for which Reservoir Media Management sued it, the last company managing Blackground Records' catalogue.
The Grammy-nominated powerhouse, who was killed when her plane went down in the Caribbean in 2001, has stood as one of the only significant acts not present on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music for years now. Thankfully, that is no longer be the case. Throughout her lifetime, Aaliyah charted eight top 40 hits on the Hot 100 and two top 20 albums on the Billboard 200. After her passing, those sums improved as fans rushed to support the singer and snap up her posthumous releases. Released just one month before her death, her self-titled third full-length debuted at No. 2 on the albums chart but shot to the top following the tragic news of her death.