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The Weeknd unveils new Aaliyah collaboration, ‘Poison’

It arrives ahead of a new posthumous Aaliyah album, 'Unstoppable'

By Joe Goggins

Aaliyah and The Weeknd, pictured in press shots
The collaboration is the pair's second, after Aaliyah was sampled on 'What You Need'. (Photos: Albert Watson/Press)

The Weekend has released his new single ‘Poison’, marking his second collaboration with Aaliyah.

Out today (December 17) via Blackground Records 2.0 and Empire, ‘Poison’ comes ahead of a new posthumous Aaliyah album, ‘Unstoppable’, a release date for which has yet to be confirmed. You can hear ‘Poison’ below.

The pair first appeared on the same track when The Weeknd sampled the late R&B star’s ‘Rock the Boat’ on ‘What You Need’ from his 2011 mixtape ‘House of Balloons’, although it was excluded from the tape’s official release when it was bundled with ‘Thursday’ and ‘Echoes of Silence’ as ‘Trilogy’ after he signed to Republic Records in 2012. The original hook-up was eventually reinstated when he reissued ‘House of Balloons’ to mark its 10th anniversary this past March.

Aaliyah died in August 2001 at the age of 22, in a plane crash as she was returning from the ‘Rock the Boat’ video shoot in the Bahamas. In August, her music finally made it to streaming services, after a lengthy legal wrangle between her estate and her uncle, Barry Hankerson, who is the founder of Blackground and served as Aaliyah’s manager.

Hankerson now claims to be hard at work in the studio on new music from Aaliyah, overseeing tracks that will pair previously unheard vocals with features from Drake, Future, Ne-Yo, Chris Brown and Snoop Dogg. In August, he told WVEE’s Big Tigger: “”I think it’s wonderful. It’s a very emotional process to do. It’s very difficult to hear her sing when she’s not here, but we got through it.” In the same interview, he promised that ‘Unstoppable’ would arrive within “a matter of weeks”, although it has yet to surface. Hankerson said it will be the last posthumous Aaliyah release.

Drake’s presence on the album may prove contentious. In 2012, he released ‘Enough Said’, on which Aaliyah’s vocals featured. At the time, reports suggested that Drake was heading up a posthumous album in the mould of ‘Unstoppable’, prompting her family to release a statement in which her brother, Rashad Houghton, said: “There is no official album being released and supported by the Haughton family.” Other than his feature, Drake’s wider involvement with ‘Unstoppable’ is unclear.

Meanwhile, The Weeknd told fans in October that his fifth studio album is “complete”, save for a handful of key elements. It will follow up 2020’s multi-platinum ‘After Hours’.