One in a Million (Aaliyah album)

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One in a Million
Studio album by Aaliyah
Released August 27, 1996 (1996-08-27)
Recorded August 1995–July 1996[1]
Length 73:18
Label Blackground, Atlantic
Producer Timbaland, Missy Elliott, Carl-So-Lowe, J. Dibbs, Jermaine Dupri, Kay Gee, Vincent Herbert, Rodney Jerkins, Craig King, Darren Lighty, Darryl Simmons
Aaliyah chronology
Age Ain't Nothing but a Number
(1994)Age Ain't Nothing but a Number1994
One in a Million
Singles from One in a Million
  1. "If Your Girl Only Knew"
    Released: August 13, 1996
  2. "One in a Million"
    Released: December 10, 1996
  3. "Got to Give It Up"
    Released: January 27, 1997
  4. "4 Page Letter"
    Released: March 11, 1997
  5. "Hot Like Fire"
    Released: September 16, 1997
  6. "The One I Gave My Heart To"
    Released: September 16, 1997

One in a Million is the second studio album by American R&B recording artist Aaliyah, first released on August 27, 1996 by Blackground Records and Atlantic Records. The album was recorded from August 1995 to July 1996 with a variety of producers including Timbaland, Missy Elliott, Carl-So-Lowe, J. Dibbs, Jermaine Dupri, Kay Gee, Vincent Herbert, Rodney Jerkins, Craig King, Darren Lighty, and Darryl Simmons. The album featured several guest vocalists, including Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Treach, Slick Rick, and Tank.

One in a Million was well received by most critics, including Rolling Stone, who named it the 90th best album of the 1990s. It was also listed as one of 33 hip hop/R&B albums in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the '90s".[3] One in a Million debuted at twenty on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 40,500 copies in its opening week; twenty-two weeks later the album peaked at eighteen, being certified Gold by RIAA. Within a few months, the album proved Aaliyah's breakthrough and a major milestone in the careers of Missy Elliott and Timbaland. It was certified double Platinum on June 16, 1997.[4] The album was also certified Gold by the Canadian recording industry for shipments of 50,000 copies. One in a Million has sold over three million copies in the United States and 8 million copies worldwide.[5][6]

The album produced six singles, "If Your Girl Only Knew", "One in a Million", "Got to Give It Up", "4 Page Letter", "Hot Like Fire", and "The One I Gave My Heart To", with the last becoming the album's highest-charting single, peaking at nine on the US Billboard Hot 100. In 2004, the album was re-released in Germany with altered artwork, and again in 2006. The disc is copy-protected, and therefore will not show up when placed in some PCs, but it will show up when inserted into a Mac, and it will play in most CD players. It included the standard 17 tracks, plus the bonus song "Come Over".


One in a Million was recorded from August 1995 to July 1996. Missy Elliott and Timbaland wrote and produced the majority of the album. Other producers included Rodney Jerkins, Jermaine Dupri, and Kay Gee. The album was executive produced by Barry Hankerson and Jomo Hankerson. 57 songs were recorded for the album, but a majority of them were cut from the final track list. One of those tracks included the song, "Sugar & Spice", the first track Aaliyah did with Timbaland & Missy Elliott; however due to label disagreements with the song, it never made the final track list of the album. On October 8, 2010, a rare demo version of the song performed by 1990s R&B group, Sugah (which included notable R&B singer, Tweet) was leaked; reports have also surfaced that the track may have also been used as a sample for another R&B group, Tha' Truth, for their 1997 song, "Candy".[7][8] Another track that was going to be included on the album was "I Care 4 U", but wasn't completed in time for mastering. It was later included on Aaliyah's third studio album, Aaliyah.


"If Your Girl Only Knew" was released as the album's lead single in August 1996, it peaked at number 11 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart for the week ending October 19, 1996,[9] becoming her third single to reach the top 20. It reached the top of the Billboard Hot R&B Singles chart for two weeks. "If Your Girl Only Knew" was also a hit in the UK, peaking in the top thirty of the UK Singles Chart at number 21 when it was originally released by itself. It was re-issued with "One in a Million" as a double A-side and reached a new peak position of number 15. The album's second single "One in a Million" was released December 10, 1996, the song was a top twenty hit in the UK, reaching number fifteen. "4 Page Letter" was released as the album third single on March 11, 1997. "Hot Like Fire and "The One I Gave My Heart To" were released simultaneously on September 16, 1997. Hot Like Fire charted poorly unlike "The One I Gave My Heart To" which debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 in the issue week of October 4, 1997 at number 24 and went on to peak at number 9,[10] making it the highest-charting single from the album. In the same issue week, the song debuted on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart at number 18 and went on to peak at number 7.[11] The song was certified Gold by the RIAA on October 21, 1997.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[13]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 3/5 stars[14]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars[15]
Q 3/5 stars[16]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3.5/5 stars[17]
Slant Magazine 3.5/5 stars[18]
Sputnikmusic 3/5[19]
The Village Voice (choice cut)[20]

In her review for Vibe magazine, music critic Dream Hampton said that Aaliyah's "deliciously feline" voice has the same "pop appeal" as Janet Jackson's and is complemented by the producers' funky, coherent tracks.[21] Connie Johnson of the Los Angeles Times found the album's material exceptional, including the "teasingly witchy" "If Your Girl Only Knew".[22] Q magazine said that, with "her smooth, sweetly seductive vocal firmly to the fore, [Aaliyah] works through a set of predominantly slow and steamy swingbeat numbers, all clipped beats, luxurious melodies and dreamy harmonies".[23] Robert Christgau, writing in The Village Voice, was less enthusiastic and cited only "Got to Give It Up" as a "choice cut",[20] indicating "a good song on an album that isn't worth your time or money".[24] Sputnikmusic's Nick Butler deemed it a "strange" record with an overemphasis on "unusually good" and "occasionally brilliant" ballads but plagued by upbeat tracks that were not on-par, except "Hot Like Fire".[19]

In a retrospective review, Slant Magazine said One in a Million was "undoubtedly one of the most influential R&B albums of the '90s," and credited it for establishing "Aaliyah and the Timbo family as undeniable hip-hop forces."[18] Allmusic viewed it as a significant improvement over her debut album with "greater variety of material" and producers, and called Aaliyah's voice "smoother, more seductive, and stronger than before".[13] The album was ranked number 90 on Rolling Stone's 100 greatest albums of the 90s. It was also listed as one of 33 Hip hop/R&B albums in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the 90s".[3]

Commercial performance[edit]

It was an international success for the Contemporary R&B genre, with worldwide sales being 8 million copies as of 2008.[6][25] The album debuted at number 20 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 40,500 copies in its first week.[26] In the Christmas week of 1996 the album peaked at number 18 selling 71,000 copies.[27] The album was certified Gold by the RIAA on October 23, 1996; over 500,000 copies shipments. On February 5, 1997, the album was certified Platinum for shipments of over 1,000,000 units; making it, at the time, her second platinum album. On June 16, 1997, the album was certified 2× Platinum, with more than 2 million copies shipments. It sold an additional 1.1 million copies in 1997.[28] After Aaliyah's death, One in a Million returned to the Billboard 200, and US. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. During this time the album also topped the Top Catalog Albums for 12 weeks. One in a Million has sold 3 million copies in the US[29] and an extra 756,000 units through BMG Music club, Nielsen SoundScan does not count albums sold through clubs like the BMG Music Service, which were significantly popular in the 1990s.[30]

Track listing[edit]

Standard edition
No. Title Writer(s) Producer Length
1. "Beats 4 da Streets (Intro)" (featuring Missy Elliott)
  • Elliott
  • Timbaland
Timbaland 2:10
2. "Hot Like Fire"
  • Elliott
  • Timbaland
Timbaland 4:23
3. "One in a Million"
  • Elliott
  • Timbaland
Timbaland 4:30
4. "A Girl Like You" (featuring Treach)
  • Kay-Gee
  • Darren Lighty
  • Kay-Gee
  • Lighty
5. "If Your Girl Only Knew"
  • Elliott
  • Timbaland
Timbaland 4:50
6. "Choosey Lover (Old School/New School)" 7:07
7. "Got to Give It Up" (featuring Slick Rick) Marvin Gaye
  • Herbert
  • Craig King
8. "4 Page Letter"
  • Elliott
  • Timbaland
Timbaland 4:52
9. "Everything's Gonna Be Alright"
Jerkins 4:50
10. "Giving You More" J. Dibbs J. Dibbs 4:26
11. "I Gotcha' Back"
  • Dupri
  • Carl-So-Lowe
12. "Never Givin' Up" (featuring Tavarius Polk)
  • Monica Bell
  • King
  • Herbert
  • King
13. "Heartbroken"
  • Elliott
  • Timbaland
Timbaland 4:17
14. "Never Comin' Back"
  • Elliott
  • Timbaland
Timbaland 4:06
15. "Ladies in da House" (featuring Missy Elliott & Timbaland)
  • Elliott
  • Timbaland
Timbaland 4:20
16. "The One I Gave My Heart To" Diane Warren Daryl Simmons 4:30
17. "Came to Give Love (Outro)" (featuring Timbaland)   Timbaland 1:40
Notes and sample credits

^[a] denotes additional producer



Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[40] Gold 50,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[41] Gold 160,000[42]
United Kingdom (BPI)[43] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[44] 2× Platinum 3,756,000[*]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

  • ^ * The album has sold 3 million copies in the US according to Nielsen SoundScan,[29] which does not count albums sold through clubs like the BMG Music, where she sold 756,000.[30] Combined, it has sold over 3,756,000 copies in the US.



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  16. ^ "Q review". 2007-10-16. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  17. ^ Rolling Stone review. 2004-11-02. ISBN 9780743201698. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  18. ^ a b "Slant Magazine review". Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
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  20. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (March 11, 1997). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved July 17, 2013. 
  21. ^ Hampton, Dream (October 1996). "Revolutions". Vibe. New York: 133–4. Retrieved July 17, 2013. 
  22. ^ Johnson, Connie (September 28, 1996). "Aaliyah's Spirit Sounds Like a 'Million'". Los Angeles Times. 
  23. ^ "Aaliyah - One in a Million CD Album". 
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  25. ^ Simmonds 2008, p. 454
  26. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc (2001-08-04). "Billboard". 
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  29. ^ a b "Aaliyah Returns To Music". Billboard. 2001. Archived from the original on 2013-05-24. Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
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  33. ^ " – Aaliyah – One in a Million" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2017-01-16.
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  39. ^ a b Billboard - Google Livros. 1998-01-03. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
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  41. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Aaliyah – One in a Million" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved 2017-01-16.  Select 1997年月 on the drop-down menu
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  43. ^ "British album certifications – Aaliyah – One in a Million". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2017-01-16.  Enter One in a Million in the search field and then press Enter.
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External links[edit]