Producer Craig King talks about working and hanging out with Aaliyah

Aaliyah (Photo credit: / Everett Collection)

It was serendipitous that rolling out caught up with one of Aaliyah’s super-producers in the week that arguably her biggest album, One in a Million, cracked the Billboard Top 10 for the first time in the 25 years since its original release.

As fans pay homage to the late iconic artist 20 years after Aaliyah Dana Haughton’s tragic death, they reminisce nostalgically about her obvious beauty and the angelic voice that soared like an eagle’s wings. However, producer Craig King, who wrote, produced and did vocal arrangements on the landmark One in a Million album, said there were other intangibles that created a lasting impression on him.

“I think it’s a combination of things that really resonated for me personally. One was her heart — just a gigantic, huge heart,” Craig told rolling out. “I think that her first sensibility was to be herself in an era where, you know, typically stylists come in, and they just kind of take over and run the play.”

King said the kindhearted but strong-minded Aaliyah didn’t race to be scantily clad or overexposed. Instead, her “baggy clothing” became her signature style that millions of girls emulated.

“So she created a safe space for other young girls who didn’t necessarily want to wear dresses and skirts and all that yet. She leaned into her own style, and she welcomed her personal identity openly for everyone to see,” he said.

Craig, who has worked with the créme de la créme of the music industry including Quincy Jones, Ray Charles, Kanye West, Ludacris and even country legend Kenny Rogers, was floored by Aaliyah’s high musical IQ as a precocious teen.

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