ON THIS DAY, December 10, 1996 Aaliyah RELEASED her MONSTER hit ‘One In A Million’!!!
‘Million’ was the 2nd US single from the album of this same name. Along with “If Your Girl Only Knew”, “One In a Million” was one of the earliest songs that Aaliyah did with both Timbaland and Missy Elliott. According to Elliot she wrote “One In A Million” in a rap-singing way because she didn’t know how to write songs for singers because she was a rapper. Elliot explained “Because I wasn’t really a singer like that, that’s why I wrote like that, because I was a rapper, but I didn’t know how to do a bunch of runs, so every record that I would attack, I would attack it like I’m rap-singing it.” During the earliest stages of the recording process for the song Elliot was scared to play the record for Aaliyah because the songs sound was different. Once Aaliyah heard the song she loved it , in regards to Aaliyah loving the song Elliot said “She had an ear and she knew what that music made her feel like. She was next level to understand that this is some next level (music). This is not just the sound that’s going on right now — this is a new sound that is being created. This whole movement is new,”.
Once the song was complete and sent to radio, radio stations didn’t want to the play the song at first. Many radio stations made excuses as to why they couldn’t play the song by saying “they couldn’t blend it in, they couldn’t mix it in with records before it or after it because the cadence hadn’t been done before,”. According to Blackground records CEO Jomo Hankerson many radio station program directors had a problem with the “crickets” in the song. Hankerson recalls that a program director in Chicago said that he wouldn’t play a record that had crickets in it. When trying to create a solution so that the song could get played on the radio Atlantic records suggested that it be more radio-friendly. According to Hankerson he refused to change the song and he took the tapes out the studio so that no one could remix the song. “Atlantic thought we should remix the record and take the triple-beat down to make it more radio-friendly, but we were very bullheaded about it. We heard they were trying to get remixes done, so we took the tapes out the studio! Back in those days before ProTools you could really control where the music went. If you had that two-inch reel, you had the record. So we grabbed the two-inch reels and all the tapes so nobody could do any unauthorized remixes and we stuck to our guns on that version of the record”.