That’s My Jam is a weekly feature where one person from the Selective Hearing staff goes to wax poetic about music that is pivotal to their musical tastes. Whether that would be an album, a song, or anything in-between. We all had to start somewhere.
Release Date: August 27, 1996
- Beats 4 da Streets (Intro) feat. Missy Elliot
- Hot Like Fire
- A Girl Like You feat. Treach
- If Your Girl Only Knew
- Choosey Lover (Old School/New School)
- Got To Give It Up feat. Slick Rick
- 4 Page Letter
- Everything’s Gonna Be Alright
- Giving You More
- I Gotcha Back
- Never Givin Up feat. Tavarius Polk
- Never Comin Back
- Ladies In da House feat. Missy Elliot & Timbaland
- The One I Gave My Heart To
- Came To Give Love (Outro) feat. Timbaland
One In A Million is the follow-up to Aaliyah’s debut album, Age Ain’t Nothin But A Number, and features the singles If Your Girl Only Knew, One In A Million, Got To Give It Up, 4 Page Letter, Hot Like Fire and The One I Gave My Heart To.
With R. Kelly not returning as producer/songwriter (that whole underage marriage thing and all), One In A Million spreads the love amongst a myriad of producers and songwriters instead, with the most notable of the bunch being Missy Elliot and Timbaland.
That variety took Aaliyah out of the New Jack Swing era into a whole different world of R&B. So much so that One In A Million became her breakthrough album and set the career paths of Missy Elliot and Timbaland on a skyward trajectory.
This has been described as one of the genre-redefining and highly influential R&B albums of the 1990s, and it’s not hard to argue with that. At the time, Timbaland’s productions were so different sounding from the typical R&B beats that you had to pay attention.
That’s not to say the others who contributed beats had inferior songs. It’s more like apples & oranges. Everything is top-notch, but just one set of songs is sonically different from the rest.
The only real downside of this album is that it is a wee bit overlong. 17 tracks (actually 15 minus the intro/outro) are a little much. Thankfully One In A Million does contain a lot of material that keeps your attention. Filler does not live here.
Also, those who are used to diva-screaming vocals or up-tempo tracks for “da club” will probably be disappointed. This album is all about being smooth and seductive. If that’s your groove, then this will be perfect for you.
Sadly Aaliyah passed away in a plane crash in 2001 at the age of 22 after shooting a video for her third and final self-titled album in the Bahamas. There’s no telling what she could have achieved if she were around today.
Even though her musical output is rather small, Aaliyah still left an impact on Urban/Pop music that resonates with many artists since her death. If you want a history lesson in what it means to be a “game changer,” look no further than One In A Million.