1991–1995: Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number
After Barry Hankerson, Aaliyah’s uncle, signed a distribution deal with Jive Records, he signed Aaliyah to his Blackground Records label at the age of 12. Hankerson later introduced her to recording artist and producer R. Kelly, who became Aaliyah’s mentor, as well as lead songwriter and producer of the album, which was recorded when she was 14.
Released in June 1994, the album peaked at number 18 on the Billboard 200 and sold over three million copies in the United States. Aaliyah’s debut single, “Back & Forth”, topped the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for three weeks and was certified Gold by the RIAA.
“At Your Best (You Are Love)”
The second single, a cover of The Isley Brothers’ “At Your Best (You Are Love)”, peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 and was also certified Gold by the RIAA.
“Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number”
The title track, “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number”, peaked at number 75 on the Hot 100. Additionally, she released “The Thing I Like” as part of the soundtrack to the 1994 film A Low Down Dirty Shame.
“The Thing I Like”
Aaliyah and R. Kelly
With the release of Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number, rumors circulated of a relationship between Aaliyah and Kelly. Shortly after, there was speculation about a secret marriage with the release of “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number” and the adult content that Kelly had written for Aaliyah. Vibe magazine later revealed a marriage certificate that listed the couple allegedly married on August 31, 1994, in Sheraton Gateway Suites in Rosemont, Illinois. Aaliyah, who was 15 at the time, was listed as 18 on the certificate; the illegal marriage was reportedly annulled in February 1995 by her parents. The pair continued to deny marriage allegations, stating that neither was married.
Ginuwine About Aaliyah and R.Kelly
Ginuwine breaks down the truth about his relationship with Aaliyah and the drama surrounding the Pied Piper.
What was it like working with Aaliyah:
It was a privilege. The misconception is that people think we hung out everyday. Its not so. We talked on the pagers and stuff. We did a lot of shows together and we were both hot at the time but we didn’t really hang out, hang out.
How do you feel about everyone taking shots at him (R.Kelly)?
Taking shots at Kelly? I think he deserved it. I mean, you don’t do that. You don’t do that man. I just feel like if you’re going to mess with somebody, mess with somebody your age. Okay, they said it wasn’t him, so if it was true, you mess with somebody your age.