The singer’s biggest albums have been unavailable for a decade. Now her uncle, who founded her label, has a deal with EMPIRE to release them on streaming services. But Aaliyah’s estate isn’t happy about it.
It’s a Friday afternoon in July and the reclusive, enigmatic music mogul has been tied up in an Atlanta recording studio, overseeing a session involving one of the many sought-after, unreleased masters under his control, and is only just getting back home. His ranch in Newnan, Ga., stretches over 100 acres, on which he keeps horses, raises cattle and grows his own crops, which he harvests himself. At 73, a year removed from a stroke that left him contemplating his health and legacy, it’s the simple life that fulfills him, after decades in the trenches of politics, activism and the music business, where the highs were stratospheric and the lows almost unspeakable.
“I love walking amongst the cattle, letting the horses wander around the pasture and walking with them,” he says, speaking steadily while sitting in an overstuffed brown leather chair in his home. “Sometimes I’ll just go to the stream at the back of the property and just sit there and watch various animals run around. I really like being alone.”