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Aaliyah, 'Are You That Somebody'

I hadn't been born yet when Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody" was released, but I still have backseat memories of her honeyed voice being carried over the radio waves and into my mom's car speakers. I grew up always hearing glimmers of Aaliyah in other artists' music, noticing strangely familiar samples and interpolations but not always knowing where they came from. As the R&B singer's music arrives to streaming, after years of being unavailable, I'm discovering her discography — some songs are new to me, others I didn't know I had forgotten. The Timbaland-produced "Are You That Somebody" is a textural composition, instrumental and acapella percussion layered with guitar and a baby's cries. Over it all, Aaliyah's soulful, contemporary-sounding vocals lilt throughout the whispery chorus. Even though it's been over 20 years, this track feels like yesterday.

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Chasity Hale
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