Sound Check

Aaliyah’s music video secrets

Aaliyah in 2000 (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

R&B singing sensation Aaliyah would have celebrated her 34th birthday today had she not been killed in a fatal plane crash in 2001 at the age of 22.

To honour this great hip-hop star, let’s take a look at a few of her finest music moments and what went on behind the scenes to make these videos happen.

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1. “Try Again”
This tune was recorded as part of the soundtrack for the 2000 film “Romeo Must Die” in which Aaliyah played the role of Trish O'Day.

The movie’s DVD bonus features include the making of the video for “Try Again” where she talks about the meaning of the song, saying, “It’s basically about a relationship. About a guy approaching me and I’m saying, ‘If I don’t say yes up front, will you leave me alone or will you try again?’ If at first you don’t succeed, just give it one more chance.”

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The clip also reveals that the mirrored room in the video “was inspired by Bruce Lee’s classic ‘Enter The Dragon.’”

2. “Rock the Boat”
This track peaked at No. 14 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in 2002 and No. 2 on the R&B/ Hip-Hop Songs chart in 2001.

BET was granted a special look into the making of the video and as it turns out, the rhinestone facial accessories that Aaliyah was wearing for her underwater scenes weren’t the first choice for the shot.

“The inspiration behind the stones underwater were, well, first of all Hype [Williams the video’s director] wanted to do something really dramatic because she would be diving underwater so we came up with the idea to do stones,” a crew member said. “We couldn’t use fake eyelashes because the glue wouldn’t adhere, so it was a little difficult, but I think that the final outcome was really, really cool."

Although those underwater scenes looked great, they weren’t easy for Aaliyah to shoot as she had trouble with the breath regulator.

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“I just couldn’t handle it,” she said. “I had a few moments of panic with that. You have to really take the time out to teach your body how to breathe underwater so, we let go of that and I ended up having to hold my breath and shoot the scenes.”

She also said, “It was difficult, it was 15 feet deep and there was a lot of pressure, but it was worth it because we got some really pretty shots out of it.”

3. “Are You That Somebody?”
This 1998 song was part of the “Dr. Dolittle” soundtrack and while reviewing the music video herself, the singer revealed that the cave scenes were filmed in the same cave that was used as the original Batcave.

One of the sexiest sequences in this clip comes at the end when Aaliyah dons a skirt with high slits on both sides and heels and dances the flamenco, which was something her choreographer came up with.

“Fatima [Robinson] went and took a private class to learn the flamenco [and she asked,] ‘Can you please wear a skirt?’” she said. “She was always begging me to put on a skirt and some heels…I was really feeling the flamenco idea and she was extremely happy.”

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